Stars, Studio and Ratings Board Battle Over 'Bully'

There’s a big, built-in problem with the Motion Picture Association of America’s contested decision to slap “Bully,” a documentary about kids battering kids, with an R rating, and it’s a problem of which powerhouse producer Harvey Weinstein and a growing lineup of Hollywood stars are well aware. Namely, the MPAA’s rating would make it that much harder for the very demographic most affected by the problem to see it in theaters.

E! Online has put together a timeline laying out the tug of war between the ratings board and the filmmakers, featuring cameos from such concerned celebs as Justin Bieber, Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep. So far, the R rating still stands. Check out the trailer for “Bully” after the excerpt below. –KA

E! Online:

February 2012: The MPAA gives Bully an R rating for “some language,” preventing kids from going to the movies without being accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Feb. 23, 2012: Weinstein personally makes an appeal before the board with one of the students bullied in the film, Alex Libby, requesting the MPAA lower it to a PG-13 so it reaches the widest audience possible. The ratings appeals board, however, falls one vote shy of overturning the original decision.

Feb. 26, 2012: Katy Butler, a 17-year-old high school student in Michigan, launches a petition at calling on the MPAA to reduce the rating. The petition goes viral within a couple of days as the media pick up on it and interview Butler, who’s been the victim of bullying herself as an out lesbian.

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