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

4 thoughts on “Katy Butler still working to get MPAA to give ‘Bully’ PG-13 rating

  1. Ariel “dresses like a stripper”? I assume you mean she wears a shell bikini… She’s a fucking MERMAID!! How else is she supposed to dress?

    • Yeah, Bob, I’m referring to the shell bikini. Mermaids are imaginary creatures, I wasn’t aware they need to come in uniform. Though I guess Wonder Woman has to wear her underwear as well. Funny how all our female heroines dress like that, huh?


      • I’m with Bob… I’m confused on how you would rather have her dress. Most mermaids (and mermen) in fiction are completely topless.

        I can guarantee it was not Glen Keane’s (the lead animator on Ariel) intention to maker her look like a “stripper” and to insinuate such is quite insulting to an incredible animator. I think Glen was just basing her off of what Mermaids “traditionally” look like without, obviously, the bare chest.

        I highly doubt he was sitting in a conference room with the directors laughing evilly and twirling his non-existent mustache going “hahaha how we corrupt little girls minds”? They just wanted to make a good movie (and they succeeded in my opinion).

  2. MPAA consistent? Hah! There have several movies that have had their ratings changed just based on the course of their arguments. How can they possibly say that they are consistent if they give a movie two different ratings with no changes at all? They even disallowed a poster for Zack and Miri Make a Porno that looked exactly like an earlier poster for Good Luck Chuck that was allowed. In fact the Zack and Miri poster was less suggestive than the Good Luck Chuck poster, and yet that was the one that was allowed.

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