“Bully”, a documentary about the harassment, trauma and violence brought about by bullying is set to premiere in theaters on the 30th of March in the United States. When the movie was screened at a film festival, it received an R rating because of the incidence of profanity and other derogatory words.
Anti-bullying advocates have voiced out their concerns, saying they find the rating unacceptable as it limits the possible audience that the documentary could reach had it been given a PG-13 rating instead. With a PG-13 rating, kids themselves could be aware of the severity of bullying, which has triggered so many cases of suicide due to the psychological and emotional trauma it creates. Moreover, this would also allow them to watch the movie without Mom or Dad, the presence of whom can sometimes cause them to keep bullying incidences to themselves.
Even host and celebrity Ellen Degeneres disagrees with the R rating. “I wish this movie could be shown in every classroom in America,” she said in a tweet.
Petitions have also been started in order to change the documentary’s rating. Says Michigan high school student Katy Butler, whose finger was once broken when bullies slammed her locker door shut on her hand, says:
“I can’t believe the MPAA is blocking millions of teenagers from seeing a movie that could change — and, in some cases, save — their lives. According to the film’s website, over 13 million kids will be bullied this year alone. Think of how many of these kids could benefit from seeing this film, especially if it is shown in schools?
… This makes me really mad. It means that a film documenting the abuse that millions of kids experience through bullying won’t be seen by the audience that needs to see it the most: middle school students and high school students.”
The furor over the issue will be discussed during a special invitation-only screening and panel discussion where parents and students will be attending.