Kids, the very audience who would benefit most from seeing the new documentary "Bully," aren't allowed to see it without a parent or guardian. The film earned an R rating from the Motion Picture Association of America due to adult language.
Michigan teenager Katy Butler created an online petition urging the MPAA to change its ruling. Butler tells msnbc.com's Thomas Roberts that she came out as a lesbian in seventh grade and was bullied so severely that her finger was broken when she was thrown into a locker. She appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" March 7 and host DeGeneres praised Butler's work.
"So many more people are paying attention (to the petition) now that Ellen is supporting it," Butler told Roberts.
She also told Roberts that simply editing the language out of "Bully" isn't the anwer. "No one goes into schools and edits out the language that kids hear," Butler said, pointing out that swear words are "the language of bullying."
"Bully" was made by filmmaker Lee Hirsch, who was himself bullied, and follows students from five states throughout the 2009-2010 school year. In one scene, cameras on a school bus capture a boy being physically and verbally attacked, yet when his family meets with the school administration, they're told that the attackers "are just as good as gold."
More than 280,000 people have signed the online petition. Butler took four boxes of signatures into MPAA headquarters in Los Angeles, and officials there met with her but refused to drop the rating to PG-13.
"Even though we think this is a wonderful film and very worthwhile film for people to see, our main purpose is to give parents information on the level of content," Joan Graves, head of the MPAA, told the Associated Press. "(Butler) wants us to ignore the level of content because this is a good film, and we can't do that."
You can watch Butler's interview with Roberts here.
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