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Thomas Roberts Talks with 'Bully' Filmmaker About Battle Over 'R' Rating: VIDEO

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Yesterday, Thomas Roberts spoke with Lee Hirsch, the filmmaker behind Bully, and the battle being led by Harvey Weinstein and student activist Katy Butler to get the MPAA to change the film's rating from 'R' so that kids will be able to see the film.

Weinstein has threatened to leave the MPAA unless they change the rating.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via ed kennedy at afterelton)

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Comments

  1. It's difficult to believe this film was slapped with an 'R' rating due to anything but the MPAA's historical homophobia. Language? Maybe I'm wrong but since when did a film get an 'R' rating due to language?

    Posted by: Michael | Mar 16, 2012 10:15:03 AM


  2. This is an act of censorship on the part of the MPAA. It's related to their long history of keeping independent films away form reaching a large public by rating them R.

    It's not simply homophobia. The bullies in the film use any pretext to attack kids seen as smaller, weaker or "different" in any way. As the film shows the schools come to the side of the bullies. The most shocking scene in the film shows a school administrator forcing a kid who has been repeatedly attacked to shake hands with his attacker. She doesn't deal with the bully at all -- only the vitim. Whay she's sayign is that if anotber kid attacks you it's YOUR fault. This is the way things are in this culture and it has to stop.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Mar 16, 2012 10:32:04 AM


  3. This whole thing is a publicity stunt by Weinstein. If he wants kids to see this film, his company and Google (two extremely wealthy companies) can team up and put this movie on YouTube (owned by Google). It will reach far more kids there than it will playing only in art houses in major cities. So I congratulate him on all the free publicity he's generating. Now if it's so important, let the kids see it.

    Posted by: Craig | Mar 16, 2012 11:13:55 AM


  4. http://wp.me/p1se8R-2ym

    I believe the filmakers should do whatever is needed to get this message in front of the biggest audience possible. If that means editing some foul language then so be it.

    Posted by: DiatribesAndOvationsTovation | Mar 16, 2012 12:33:52 PM


  5. Arguing that the filmmakers should edit out the bad language to get the message out to a larger audience misses the whole point. What will make any documentary on youth issues like bullying effective or ineffective is how truthfully it portrays the reality of these kids' lives.

    Editing out the foul language isn't really different than school administrators claiming it takes two to fight or that bullying is just boys being boys. It's an attempt to sanitize reality to make it more palatable not to children, who deal with worse than harsh language, but to their parents and self declared moral guardians. Let's not delude ourself into thinking that an "age appropriate" version of the film would be taken seriously by those who most need to see it.

    Posted by: Rlavigueur | Mar 16, 2012 1:59:30 PM


  6. When I was in 8th grade, I was stuck in a home room with a trio of people who were pretty damn tormenting and definitely made my life miserable. I wasn't badly 'bullied' outside of them, but it made me absolutely dread going to school in the morning and the 30 or so minutes we spent in homeroom after lunch for study time.

    Well, one day after a particularly bad incident, the teacher yelled at ME and pulled ME out of class. It was horrible, walking through the entire class of kids, like a walk of shame, after I was the victim. It was definitely one of the worst days in school ever.

    When we got out in the hall, she could tell I was breaking down and in tears and quite frankly bewildered about why I was pulled out and not them. She acted all nice and said she did it for me -- for me! -- trying to diffuse the situation.

    I got what she was trying to do, but wow did it still do nothing to help me. Thankfully, she at least recommended that I file a harassment case... and after thinking over it while stuck outside the class for the entire study period (not being able to study), I finally did.

    Unfortunately, NOTHING happened. The kids I reported were eventually called up and obviously spoken to, I imagine their parents got a phone call, and there was a general 'leave the kid alone' message... but after a few weeks, things went back to normal... which I was actually thankful for in some ways, because they had spread a 'wow, isn't he wimp for telling on us and getting us in trouble' meme.

    All in all, that entire year was pretty damn miserable and I won't lie, I was in a very bad place. I'm not sure how I was able to get through it, but I'm glad I somehow did.

    Suffice it to say, though, it was the *last* time I ever went to the school or administration looking for help... and instead all future incidents of bullying I had to deal with on my own, and I didn't always cope well... often skipping school in later years because I just couldn't face going there, and all the damage that did to my grades with it. Some of that 'damage' still lingers today, with the $40k in college debt I have owing greatly to the fact that I didn't get the kind of scholarships I would have been eligible for with a slightly higher GPA in high school.

    That was a long story to go through that could be summed up like this: Teachers absolutely target the kids being bullied -- they have been trained to do so! -- and it is incredibly damanging to those kids. That damage can have lasting consequences, making kids never feel safe going to the people they're *supposed to feel safe with*.

    That may be changing now -- changing the way we deal with bullies is moving rapidly --but it still exists and we need to tackle it head on. I wouldn't want kids today to deal with the crap I did... and plenty of people dealt with it infinitely worse. (At least I was physically safe, even if seemingly surrounded by assholes.

    Posted by: SuperAnon | Mar 16, 2012 3:27:38 PM


  7. Craig has a strong point. Weinstein should release this film online. That is where so much bullying is taking place and an important part to understanding the pervasive presence of bullying today relative to before the internet.

    Both Weinstein and Hirsch must know this. And they know the power of putting this online.

    Posted by: tim | Mar 17, 2012 10:04:58 AM


  8. As much as I do believe that it is an atrocious deed to stifle the message of this movie by slapping it with an 'R' rating, I don't think that attempting to change the rating is the greatest course of action.
    My reasons for this are mainly that, despite any rating matters, the fact is that most children do not want to watch documentaries and certainly do not want to pay to do so. Yes, adding parents to the equation will turn children away, but so does the fact that their viewing platform is the theatre. Kids don't enjoy viewing movies alone, nor would they ever want to see Bullly among company as it would prove 'embarassing'.
    A greater resolution would be to release the message on YouTube or somesuch for free. Take for example the Kony documentary. It is a free, unrestricted, and solitary experience, and thus I am seldom to find a child unaccustomed with the content, unaware of the message. Who is to say that the same would not prove true for Bully?

    Posted by: Axellawliet | Mar 18, 2012 5:43:08 PM


  9. i'm confused.... people who are quick to criticize the youtube-styled "let's help LGBT kids" campaigns suddenly want this film ...put on youtube?

    je suis confuse.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Mar 18, 2012 5:49:11 PM


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