'Bully' Doc's R Rating Upheld By MPAA

Bully Still Harvey Weinstein Inset - H 2012
The Weinstein Company/Getty Images

Bully Still Harvey Weinstein Inset - H 2012

Despite a personal appearance by one of the film's bullied subjects, the Classification and Rating Appeals Board held fast to its long-held language restrictions.

The Classification and Rating Appeals Board upheld the R rating given to the movie Bully, the Motion Picture Association of American announced Thursday. The MPAA announced the result of their deliberation after the Weinstein Company appealed the rating assigned to Lee Hirsch’s documentary about adolescent bullying, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter on Feb. 21.

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Weinstein co-chairman Harvey Weinstein personally appeared at the appears hearing to plead on behalf of the documentary, arguing that the rating will limit access to the viewers who may benefit most from seeing it: kids and teenagers. "I worry every day about bullying,” Weinstein said. “It's a serious and ever-present concern for me and my family." But the MPAA’s restrictions on the use of certain language – and more specifically, the number of times subjects in a film can use that language – prevailed, regardless of their context.

The MPAA made their decision after hearing statements from Weinstein and Alex Libby, one of the boys in the film. The Classification and Rating Administration was represented by Chairman Joan Graves.