On April 5, 2012, the new documentary movie Bully, which had originally been rated “R,” received a revised rating of “PG-13” after an extensive petition drive. The Motion Picture Association of America had designated Bully an “R-rated” film because one curse word was used six times. Director Lee Hirsch eliminated three uses of this word to compromise with critics.
As a woman who survived bullying as a child and as an adult, I’m delighted about this rating change. The “PG-13” rating will allow more young people to see Bully, which depicts the brutality of bullies, the suffering of targeted children, and the tolerance of bullying by authority figures. Schools, religious organizations, sports teams, and youth groups will now be able to screen this film and to discuss the serious issues that it raises.
I find it ironic that The Hunger Games immediately got a “PG-13” rating, despite many violent scenes, while Bully had to fight its “R” rating. Many bullies use swear words, so Hirsch conveys the reality of such confrontations when he allows unpleasant words in Bully. Also, most children have heard curse words before.
I strongly urge everyone to see this excellent new movie and to discuss it with children. Bullying results from a lack of respect for other people. We cannot have a thriving multicultural society without mutual respect for all individuals and repudiation of bullying.
Originally posted in April, 2012