A few nights ago the Paley Center for Media legal powerhouses David Boies and Ted Olson spoke out against the MPAA’s R rating of the documentary film BULLY, at a special screening. In front of a high-profile audience including cohost Meryl Streep and legendary activist Billie Jean King, Boies stated, “How ridiculous and unfair and damaging it is to have a film of this power and importance that is being censored by a rating system that has got simply no rational basis. You can kill kids, you can maim them, you can torture them and still get a PG13 rating, but if they say a couple of bad words you blame them. I hope, for heaven’s sake, that they find some rational basis before we have to sue them to revise the rating system.”
Olson, who served as President George W. Bush’s Solicitor General, followed Boies in agreement and stated, “Young people can be tough on one another but young people are also extraordinarily compassionate. And when they see the damage that is done to their brothers and sisters, they will speak out. They will decide to be courageous and say, ‘Don’t do that,’ or come to the defense of someone who’s being picked on. That’s why it’s important that everyone in America see BULLY to talk about it, but in particular, the young people. So Dave was right, this is an irrational decision, and I’ve heard it defended as ‘[The MPAA] really can’t do anything about it because if we make an exception here, they’ll be all sorts of people lined up wanting to have exceptions made with respect to their movies.’ What a reason for not doing something. So they better shape up, or here we come.”
The evening included appearances by Martha Stewart, Tiki Barber, Mariel Hemingway, Tom Brokaw, Katie Couric, and others. Attendees came to show their support for the film, which is being distributed by The Weinstein Company, and congratulate the film’s award winning director, Lee Hirsch, and producer, Cynthia Lowen, as well as cast member Kelby Johnson and activist Katy Butler, who started the petition to change the rating on Change.org which now has almost half a million signatures: http://www.change.org/petitions/mpaa-dont-let-the-bullies-win-give-bully-a-pg-13-instead-of-an-r-rating?utm_medium=email&utm_source=action_alert
About “BULLY”: Directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, BULLY is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary. At its heart are those with huge stakes in this issue whose stories each represent a different facet of America’s bullying crisis. BULLY follows five kids and families over the course of a school year. Stories include two families who have lost children to suicide and a mother awaiting the fate of her 14-year-old daughter who has been incarcerated after bringing a gun on her school bus. With an intimate glimpse into homes, classrooms, cafeterias and principals’ offices, the film offers insight into the often cruel world of the lives of bullied children. As teachers, administrators, kids and parents struggle to find answers, BULLY examines the dire consequences of bullying through the testimony of strong and courageous youth. Through the power of their stories, the film aims to be a catalyst for change in the way we deal with bullying as parents, teachers, children and society as a whole.
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