Teen "Bully" crusader Katy Butler is on her way to Los Angeles Tuesday to deliver 214,000 signatures to the MPAA's headquarters and press the Weinstein Co.'s case that the documentary's rating be changed to a PG-13.
The 17-year-old Michigan girl, who launched an online petition, will bring the signatures — 26,000 pages worth — to the MPAA offices in Sherman Oaks at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
But while Butler's petition has brought attention to the documentary about bullying in schools — it has been discussed on NBC's "Today" show and in newspapers across the country — all those signatures are unlikely to change the MPAA's mind.
Once the MPAA's appeals panel has voted — which it did Feb. 23 — the rating stands. Under longstanding MPAA rules, the only way the ratings board can consider changing the rating is if the filmmaker revises the movie, the MPAA told TheWrap Tuesday.
The MPAA rated the movie R because of "some language."
Classifications and Ratings Board chair Joan Graves said that "bullying is a serious issue," and that the R rating is in place "not as an indicator of the quality of the film, but in order to provide parents with adequate information on the level of content contained in the film."
The documentary, by director Lee Hirsch, is frequently painful to watch: It shows the funeral of a young man who killed himself after being bullied, shows school administrators blaming victims and otherwise denying that a problem exists, shows youngsters bullying one another. And it shows the impact of bullying on victims and their families.
With the R rating, it is less likely that schools will screen the movie.
Butler launched her petition on the website change.org, which is covering the cost of the trip.