Ryan Lee, Associate Writer: News & Current Events
With less than a month remaining before the release of the highly acclaimed documentary “Bully,” celebrities and Hollywood tycoons are amping up their pressure on the Motion Pictures Association of America to lessen its rating of the film from R to PG-13.
“It’s an important movie for everyone to see, especially kids,” DeGeneres explained to her audience. “The problem is, they’ve given the movie an R rating.”
The documentary explores anti-gay bullying, and was deemed inappropriate for young audiences due to language.
“It’s mature but it’s not gratuitous,” DeGeneres said Wednesday. “It’s part of the real story of bullying and it’s real language that bullies are using.
“I can tell you that the lessons that kids learn from this movie are more important than any words that they might hear, and they’re words that they already know anyway,” she said.
On Thursday, the Human Rights Campaign sent an email to its 1.4 million members asking them to keep pressure on the MPAA to change the rating. The film’s executive producer, Harvey Weinstein, has threatened to leave the MPAA if the organization does not change its ratings. While he respects the rating system and is used to receiving stricter ratings, Weinstein said this particular rating is “a huge blow to me personally.”
The MPAA’s Classification and Ratings Board has long been criticized for giving more mature ratings to films that focus on LGBT issues. The board’s processes and membership is notoriously secret, but is brilliantly exposed by a lesbian private investigator in the 2006 documentary, “This Film is Not Yet Rated.”