Does the upcoming film 'Bully' deserve a rated "R"? Read more at Time.com
In an unusual twist in the escalating public relations battle over the R rating assigned the movie “Bully,” the Motion Picture Assn. of America said Friday it would host a screening and panel discussion for the documentary.
Meanwhile, a children's watchdog group commended the MPAA for giving “Bully” the restrictive rating but called on the group to open up the process to allow for more public input into ratings decisions.
The MPAA's screening Thursday is an invitation-only event for Washington D.C. educators, and the panelists will include MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd, distributor Harvey Weinstein, director Lee Hirsch, a local school chancellor and a children's health advocate.
The MPAA, whose ratings board gave “Bully” the R rating and affirmed its decision by one vote after a recent appeal from the Weinstein Co., said the panel will be focused on “the challenges educators face in dealing with bullying in the classroom,” but it's likely the rating itself will be a topic of conversation.
Howard Gantman, the MPAA's vice president for corporate communications, said the event was sparked by a recent conversation between Weinstein and Dodd that Dodd had initiated. “It was a mutual decision that this would be a good idea,” Gantman said of the screening and panel at the MPAA's headquarters.
“Bully,” a look at school-age bullying and its sometimes tragic consequences, has played at a number of film festivals over the last year and is set to be released theatrically March 30. The MPAA gave it the R mark primarily for a sequence in which one bully describes what he will do to a victim, using variations of the F-word. The MPAA almost always gives an automatic R rating to any film that uses the epithet twice or more, or only once if used to describe sexual intercourse.
A Michigan teenager started a petition in favor of a more lenient rating, gathering more than 220,000 signatures. Hirsch, who was bullied as a child, said the fact that the MPAA gives PG-13 ratings to movies with graphic violence and aggression toward women but an R to “Bully” proves that the system needs an overhaul. Read more at the Los Angeles Times.