Bullying | Film | Harvey Weinstein | News

Harvey Weinstein Threatens to Leave MPAA After 'Bully' Documentary is Given 'R' Rating


Yesterday I posted a trailer for Bully, a documentary about the gay teen bullying problem. The MPAA gave it an 'R' rating and Harvey Weinstein appealed to them for a PG-13 rating so the movie could reach the teen audience to which it was hoping to show the film, EW reports.

They lost:

LibbyTWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein and one of the bullied children in the film, Alex Libby (pictured), delivered statements to the MPAA’s Classification and Rating Appeals Board today, arguing that an R rating would prevent Bully from reaching the adolescent audience that would most benefit from the movie. (The studio was planning on screening the documentary at various middle and high schools.) However, for an MPAA rating to be overturned, a two-thirds vote is required — and Bully was one vote short.

Weinstein released a statement suggesting that The Weinstein company would be taking a leave of absence from the MPAA, according to EW:

“We respect the MPAA and their process but feel this time it has just been a bridge too far. I have been through many of these appeals, but this one vote loss is a huge blow to me personally. Alex Libby gave an impassioned plea and eloquently defended the need for kids to be able to see this movie on their own, not with their parents, because that is the only way to truly make a change.”

Watch the amazing trailer if you missed it yesterday, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. The MPAA is a bunch of rich, old, white guys from within the industry. They are not going to suddenly get enlightened.

    It's a bummer, but HW can do more on the inside, than on the sideline.

    Posted by: Pete n SFO | Feb 24, 2012 10:21:42 AM

  2. @Pete: Precisely. And he has the resources. The MPAA is an absurd monopoly that seems like a cult. It can go to hell.

    Posted by: Paul R | Feb 24, 2012 10:29:16 AM

  3. I simply don't understand why anyone in authority would NOT want to stop bullying. Perhaps a petition from Change.ORG signed by thousands of people demanding members of the MPAA be removed/replaced with reasonable officials would do the trick?

    Posted by: OS2guy | Feb 24, 2012 10:31:40 AM

  4. How can you respect an organization which considers slashed, blood spewing throats acceptable viewing material for teens, but not same sex love or the naked male body?

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | Feb 24, 2012 10:32:38 AM

  5. I don't "resect the MPAA and its process.". They don't even make any attempt to rate movies in a way that prevents kids from seeing what is actually psychologically damaging for them to see, but instead put up a front of "doing something" in a secretive process. That process appeals to the lowest common denominator of the dumbest parents who are more comfortable with their kids seeing protagonists slicing off innocent people's body parts than see a breast-feeding baby or an adult stepping into the shower.

    Check out This Film Is Not Yet Rated to see what happens. They avoid having any kind of child experts on the panel in favor of those with the most "Al-American" conservative biases, including clergy.

    Posted by: Gregv | Feb 24, 2012 10:34:19 AM

  6. The MPAA is famously out of touch. I don't know that anything can change that. There is a good documentary about it called This Film is Not Yet Rated. When you see the people making these decisions for us...not just rich white guys, but people out of touch with the real world in general.

    Posted by: DrJWL | Feb 24, 2012 10:34:40 AM

  7. Thanks a lot for this post! It's very interesting.

    Posted by: paramountessays.com | Feb 24, 2012 10:39:30 AM

  8. The MPAA thinks it's still 1968, the subject matter is too suggestive in their archaic world view. The idea that teens might be having sex, same sex sex.... That's just scary...

    Posted by: Dave | Feb 24, 2012 10:42:36 AM

  9. What happens if MPAA is ignored?

    Posted by: Niel M | Feb 24, 2012 10:52:32 AM

  10. If the MPAA is ignored, many/most theatres will not show the picture at all.

    Posted by: unruly | Feb 24, 2012 10:57:19 AM

  11. I respect the Weinsteins for fighting this, but let's be honest. Most kids see R rated movies all the time of their own devices, and this might not be a movie kids see in the theater anyway. The fight, and one that should be fought with the MPAA, is on principle.

    Posted by: Gregoire | Feb 24, 2012 11:11:14 AM

  12. Down with the MPAA and while we are at it, Nielsen too. Both are monopolies that have too much influence on entertainment "products."

    Posted by: QJ201 | Feb 24, 2012 11:23:53 AM

  13. "Chronicle" (teen gets impaled on spear) and "Wolverine" (villain gets decapitated) were both rated PG-13. That should tell you something about the MPAA and its standards.

    Posted by: Dback | Feb 24, 2012 11:35:28 AM

  14. I love all your comments. They are so predictably juvenile. If the film has R rated content then it should be rated R. Harvey has every option to re-cut the film. If he wants a wider audience he can re-cut the film. This happens every day at studios. Why should the MPAA make a special case for this film? Because it has a great message? Oh please!

    Posted by: Jazzy | Feb 24, 2012 11:48:41 AM

  15. How about a Facebook page demanding the MPAA change the rating? It's been working for women. Virginia backed down, the Susan Komen Foundation backed down... How about GLADD getting involved (what am I saying, I must be delusional there).

    Posted by: SCollingsworth | Feb 24, 2012 11:59:04 AM

  16. Maybe Harvey Weinstein and other independents should get together and form their own version of MPAA, since the current one (noting "This Film is Not Yet Rated") is dominated by large studios, such as Disney & Sony, and is notorious for disallowing "G" ratings for anyone other than their "good old boys" club members.
    The independents could be noted filmmakers, who are just not that involved with the big studios.

    Posted by: Fix It Again Tony | Feb 24, 2012 12:15:47 PM

  17. @Jazzy: How out of touch can you be? This is not a movie with nudity or sexual content but is about a very serious thoughtful necessary topic... Where the hell is your head at that you criticize Weinstein? Are you either on the board or MPAA or an apologist for them? Can you honestly justify crazy bloody violence as a PG-13 rating but this as an R? I rate you as 'D' for dunce!

    Posted by: CKNJ | Feb 24, 2012 1:50:26 PM

  18. The MPAA board has a Catholic priest that sits in as a non-voting member. It is the only official religious organization that offers it's observations to the board. Nothing like a celibate man in a dress to help decide what general population should see.

    Posted by: Keith | Feb 24, 2012 2:13:21 PM

  19. It's been mentioned a couple times above but definitely rent "Thia Film is Not Yet Rated."

    Interestingly it is co-produced by NetFlix and Blockbuster will not carry it (as if Blockbuster still has any credibility anyway).

    Posted by: Craig | Feb 24, 2012 2:14:41 PM

  20. The unfortunate thing is there is another movie called "Bully" (staring the late Brad Renfro) that definitely deserves the R rating. Maybe MPAA was watching the wrong movie.

    Posted by: Craig | Feb 24, 2012 2:20:56 PM

  21. I'm sure there is more to this story. The MPAA is using the excuse of a couple of F-bombs to saboutage the showing of this film. The organization has a long history of anti-gay bigotry, and this just one more example. I smell a Catholic/Republican/Mormon somewhere in the mix.

    Posted by: Rance | Feb 24, 2012 2:21:17 PM

  22. Post the movie on the internet so everyone can see it...

    Posted by: Tamber | Feb 24, 2012 3:24:19 PM

  23. Here, here, TAMBER! if you really and truly want to get the kids to watch this movie, put it on the internet for free.

    Posted by: Hollywood, CA | Feb 24, 2012 3:41:48 PM

  24. The issue is not what effect the R-rating will have on attendance in theatres, and not because of the ability of under-17 kids to slip into such films, but because the ones who NEED to see it most--bullies and their enablers wouldn't pay to see it anyway. But they could be forced to see it where most bullying actually happens—in the schools. But VERY few schools will dare trying to show a film with an R-rating. That's the loss and shame of this ruling by nameless dinosaurs.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Feb 24, 2012 3:43:19 PM

  25. The trailer is heartbreaking. I just want to reach out and hug that little kid with the glasses. Hang in there, little guy!

    Posted by: Kevin | Feb 24, 2012 7:49:20 PM

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