There are few films that move me to the point where I'm like, Oh s***. I can't believe this is happening and it's REAL LIFE. The documentary "Bully" (out on March 30) did just that. The film centers around several teens -- some alive and some not -- and how they (and their families) deal with bullying in the past and present (but hopefully not the future). However, this amazing, eye-opening film may not be accessible to the people who need to see it the most -- students under the age of 18.
Why? The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) gave the film a R rating. And why is this so important? This is a film that needs to be seen by other kids. It needs to be accessible to them!! I can't reiterate enough how great this movie is. You feel like a fly on the wall, as you watch this film. I don't know how the hell the director did it but you actually see students getting picked on -- from being called a "fag" to getting pushed around on a school bus. There were points in the film where I gasped and went into WTF mode, shocked at what I was watching go down -- and how helpless the victims and teachers both seemed. According to the film trailer, featured below, 13 million kids will be bullied in the U.S. this year.
Thankfully, we have 17-year-old Katy Butler (pictured below) to stand up to this craziness. Katy and thousands of newfound supporters are trying to change the rating to the more logical PG-13. Katy created a petition on Change.org, urging people to sign it. "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. Think of how many of these kids could benefit from seeing this film, especially if it is shown in schools?" wrote Katy on her Change.org page.
Katy has received 215,000 signatures (her goal is 300,000). As she told MTV Act exclusively, "Having 300,000 [signatures] by Wednesday would be amazing. That just puts that much more pressure on the MPAA." And it would be totally perf timing as Katy is meeting with the MPAA to discuss this ratings snafu, tomorrow morn. "Bully" is backed by the Weinstein Company and Harvey Weinstein, one of the most powerful dudes in Hollywood, is considering not doing business with the MPAA in the future. But there is hope that tomorrow can bring good news -- for two reasons:
1. Sign the petition ASAP! It takes two second and you'll be making a big diff.
2. Another Weinstein-financed filmed, "Blue Valentine," had its NC-17 rating overturned by the MPAA to a R rating. Victory (and justice) happened in the past and it can happen again!
And why is Katy so passionate about getting the rating changed? "When I was in middle school I was out as a lesbian and there were people in my school who really were not okay with that. Those people bullied and harassed me almost every day. One day in particular, I was putting my stuff away in my locker when a few guys came up behind me calling me names and saying really derogatory things. I tried to get up and get away but they ended up slamming my hand in my locker and breaking my finger. So I have a personal connection to bullying. And I don’t want that to happen to anyone else," she explained.
After going through such turmoil, Katy is standing up. As she said in her own words, "As this movie demonstrates and I feel I have done as well, a personal story is really powerful. Also kids, stand up for yourself and stand up for everyone around you. I promise it will create a ripple effect that is needed because in order to stop bullying it takes more than one person." So what are you waiting for? Put your John Hancock where it matters!