Katy Butler still working to get MPAA to give ‘Bully’ PG-13 rating

I posted a couple weeks ago about the misguided MPAA rating system. The MPAA’s system is so messed up, it’s actually the reason why I created Reel Girl. Just one example: “The Little Mermaid” starring Ariel who dresses like a stripper and gives up her voice to get a guy: The MPAA thinks that’s a great film for kids. I guess if you can’t talk, you can’t swear, right?

The MPAA doesn’t seem to consider context at all. They count “bad” words.

High school student Katy Butler, a victim of bullying, is trying to get the MPAA to change its rating of the educational movie “Bully” from R to PG-13 so kids can see it. The movie has an R because bullies in the movie use “coarse language.” How fucked up is it (sorry, MPAA) that kids hear swear words in real life but aren’t allowed to in a documentary about real life.

Here’s the latest from Katy Butler:

Dear Margot,

The first thing I want to say is thank you.

Two weeks ago, I started a petition on Change.org asking the MPAA to change the rating of the new documentary Bully from an R to a PG-13. Now, more than 300,000 people — including you! — have signed it. So many amazing things have happened:

  • Ellen DeGeneres signed the petition, asked me to appear on her show, and said that she feels all kids need to see this movie.
  • Celebrities like Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Justin Bieber, Randy Jackson, Demi Lovato, and Drew Brees all expressed support.
  • Nearly 30 members of Congress signed a letter asking the MPAA to change the rating.
  • The campaign has been featured in pretty much every major media outlet in America from the Boston Globe to the LA Times, and I’ve appeared on CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, CBS, NPR and many more.

Last week, I flew to Los Angeles to deliver 200,000 signatures to the MPAA’s office there, and I got to meet with one of their executives. She told me that they’re keeping the film rated “R” because they have to keep things “consistent.” Maybe she thought that I would give up, or that I’m just 17, so how much can I really change anyway? But I know that if we keep up the pressure, the MPAA will have no choice but to admit that being “consistent” isn’t as important as letting kids see a movie that could literally save lives.

So this week, I’m in Washington, DC, where I’m on Capitol Hill meeting with congressional staff, the press, and the movie’s producer, Harvey Weinstein. I can hardly believe this has all happened. I promise to keep you in the loop when we get more updates on the campaign.

In the meantime, can you help keep up the momentum by sharing my petition on Facebook? Just click here to post the petition to your wall.

Five years ago, I was being bullied so badly that I didn’t even want to go to school. But now, knowing that all of you are standing with me, I don’t feel afraid or alone anymore.

Thanks for everything,

– Katy