By Anna Peirano
Ellen DeGeneres has given her endorsement for the film “Bully,” directed by Lee Hirsch. The documentary discusses the act of bullying in schools. Because of some of the language used, it has been given an R rating, rather than the intended PG-13, by the Motion Picture Association of America.
This decision has nullified one of the main intentions behind the production to reach a wider audience and be shown in schools.
A Michigan high school student who identifies as a lesbian, Katy Butler, has launched a petition to overturn the rating. On Tuesday, she delivered 200,000 signatures to the MPAA.
Butler told The Advocate that the organization’s decision prevents the film from reaching “those students who need to see it the most. Every day in every middle school and high school in America, students are bullied. This movie, if given a PG-13 rating, could reach those students as well as bullies themselves and help put a stop to the epidemic of school bullying in our country.”
DeGeneres said, “There’s some language in the film. It’s mature but not gratuitous, it’s in the movie because it’s part of the real story of bullying and it’s real language that bullies are using.”
“After seeing it I can tell you that the lessons that the kids learn from this movie are more important than any words that they might hear, and they’re words they already know anyway,” she said. “I think it’s an important movie for everyone to see, especially kids. And I think it can save lives.”