Katy Butler came all the way from Ann Arbor, MI to deliver a message to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) this morning and with her she brought the support of over 200,000 people from around the world. Katy started a petition on change.org after hearing the movie Bully received an R rating from the MPAA and the film’s distributor lost its appeal to lower the rating to PG-13.
In just a week, over 200,000 people signed the signature and with the help of Change.org, Katy and her mom were able to bring the signatures in person to the MPAA and meet with one of their representatives this morning.
For Katy Butler, this battle is a personal one. Coming out as a lesbian in middle school was not easy, as she was often tormented and pushed into lockers, with her bullies even breaking her finger during one of those instances. She understands it is important for students her age and younger to see a film addressing the subject, and allow schools around the country to hold screenings. Showing the documentary to bullies and victims of bullying could start discussions around the issue in schools and create a safer environment for students.
For the time being, the MPAA say they want to remain consistent with their rating and some of the graphic language used in the documentary is the reason behind the rating. The language is sadly the reality students who are bullied have to endure on a daily basis and it is important for viewers to see the violent words used towards victims.
Katy however remains enthusiastic; she came out of her meeting with a smile on her face, and the MPAA got the message that there is significant public pressure to allow this movie to reach a wider audience. With the film's release still several weeks away, there’s plenty of time to collect more signatures and spread the word to let students and educators know they should do their best to see it. Until then, add your name to Katy’s action on change.org, spread the word about Bully and make sure you go see it once it comes out. The film is scheduled to hit theaters on March 30.