Celebs line up to change "Bully" R rating

Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company, which distributes "Bully," told Charlie Rose "It's only about one thing, the use of the F word. If we got rid of the F word the movie would be PG-13. "

Weinstein said he didn't want to edit out the F word. "These kids use the F word to bully these kids. It's part of the movie. It's nothing like these kids haven't seen before."

"Bully" a brutally honest documentary about bullying is getting an invitation-only screening Thursday in Washington. The movie, slapped with an R rating for repeated foul language, follows five students who were brutalized by classmates over the course of a year.

"Bully" director shocked by R rating

The story familiar to 17-year-old Katy Butler, who came out as a lesbian in just the 7th grade.

"They pushed me into lockers or walls," Butler said. "One day they ended up slamming my hand in a locker and they broke my finger."

Inspired by the film's message, the Michigan high school student launched an Internet petition to make the film more accessible by changing its rating to PG-13.

"No one who is 13 wants to go see a movie with their mom or dad," Butler said.

The petition has collected over 300,000 signatures. Butler now has the support of 20 members of Congress, and celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Meryl Streep, and Justin Bieber.

"That's like no time at all," Butler said. "It's amazing, it's taken off."

Bullying: Words Can Kill

Despite the petition, and an appeal by the film's mega Hollywood distributor Harvey Weinstein, the rating stands.

Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company, which distributes "Bully," said "It's only about one thing, the use of the F word. If we got rid of the F word the movie would be PG-13. "

(Watch the interview at left.)

Weinstein said he didn't want to edit out the F word. "These kids use the F word to bully these kids. It's part of the movie. It's nothing like these kids haven't seen before."

The Motion Picture Association of America defended its decision in a statement, "The R rating is not a judgment on the value of any movie ... parents will decide if they want their children to see Bully."

The association has found unlikely allies in parents groups who usually think the ratings are too weak.

Melissa Henson of the Parents Television Council doesn't think the film is unfit for kids. But, she said the R rating is a good thing. "It's merely a tool to inform parents about content," she said. "There is brutal violence in it, very explicit language in it.

It's the kind of abuse Butler has experience first hand. It's a feeling she hopes other won't have to endure.

  • Whit Johnson

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