17-year-old Katy Butler knows what it feels like to be bullied. When she came out as a lesbian in middle school, the bullying got so bad that she ended up with a broken finger after students slammed her hand in a locker.
That's why she's waging a campaign to lower the "R" rating on a new documentary about bullying. In fact, she plans to present over 200,000 signatures on her Change.org petition to the Motion Pictures Assn. Of America (MPAA) offices in Sherman Oaks Wednesday morning.
Butler wants as many teens as possible to see the documentary, "Bully," in order to increase awareness about bullying, but the "R" rating could be an obstruction for some. In an interview with CBS, Butler asks, “How many 13-year-old kids want to see a movie with their mom and dad?”
MPAA says that the R rating, which requires individuals under 17 years old to be accompanied by a parent, is necessary because of adult language.
In her interview with CBS, Butler commented: “I think the language is part of the message. I mean, the language that’s in this movie is the language that kids hear every day in school.”
The movie is set to be released on March 30.
UPDATE: Butler delivered four boxes of papers containing the signatures she collected in support of reducing the 'R' rating. However, MPAA does not want to make the change. Joan Graves of the MPAA said that though "Bully" is a "wonderful film," the organization's primary responsibility is to provide information to parents about films' content, the Associated Press reports.
On "The Ellen Degeneres Show" Wednesday, with Katy Butler in the audience, Ellen spoke out in favor of reducing "Bully"'s rating to PG-13, which, she says "was the intention of the filmmakers." She said that she's seen the film and believes "the lessons that the kids learn from this movie are more important than any words that they might hear. And they're words that they already know anyway."
Ellen also points out that, with an 'R' rating, the film cannot be shown in schools, saying that that is exactly where it needs to be shown. She applauds Butler for continuing her effort, said she's signed the petition and encourages her viewers to sign it as well on her website.