MPAA Praises Teen ‘Bully’ Crusader But Won't Change Rating

Movie ratings board praises teen's “Bully” lobbying, but is unlikely to change R to PG-13 on Weinstein Co. documentary

The MPAA on Wednesday released a statement praising the 17-year-old girl "Bully" crusader, but shows no sign of changing the Weinstein Co.'s documentary R rating.

About an hour after Katy Butler went to the MPAA headquarters with the signatures of more than 200,000 people who think the organization should give "Bully" a PG-13, the chairman of the Classification and Rating Administration said the MPAA "shares Katy's goals of shining a light on the problem of bullying."

"Katy Butler's efforts in bringing the issue of bullying to the forefront of a national discussion in the context of this film are commendable and we welcome the feedback about this movie's rating," Joan Graves said in the statement. "We hope that her efforts will fuel more discussion among educators, parents and children."

Also read: Teen 'Bully' Crusader Flies to Weinstein Co.'s Defense

Is the MPAA going to change the rating?

Doubtful.

"The R rating is not a judgment on the value of any movie," Graves wrote. "The rating simply conveys to parents that a film has elements strong enough to require careful consideration before allowing their children to view it."

In fact, there is no procedure in place to change a rating once the Classification and Rating Appeals Board has made a decision — which it did on Feb. 23. Most members of the board wanted to rate the movie PG-13, but it takes a two-thirds vote, rather than a simple majority, to change a rating.

The rating is in place because of "some language."

The only way the rating can change now is if the filmmaker submits a new version of the film.

Butler's petition says that the R rating "means that the people who need to see this movie the most — teenagers who are either bullying their peers or suffering from violence and torment at the hands of bullies — won’t get to see this film. Nor will this film be allowed to be shown at middle schools and high schools in this country."

Also read: Weinstein Co. Considers Leaving MPAA Over 'Bully' Rating

Butler started her petition on change.org, and has since gathered more than 220,000 signatures. Chabge.org paid for the high school student from Michigan to travel to Los Angeles to deliver the signatures.

The teenager and her mother arrived in L.A. on Tuesday and attended a taping of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." She delivered the signatures to the MPAA headquarters in Sherman Oaks Wednesday morning.

Butler launched the petition because she was a victim of bullying at a former school.