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Teen campaigned to change 'Bully' rating

  • Katy Butler
Katy Butler (Getty Images )
April 08, 2012|By Leonor Vivanco, RedEye

Being picked on, humiliated or made fun of are topics all too familiar for some kids.

All are covered in the documentary film "Bully," opening in Chicago-area theaters Friday and directed by Lee Hirsch, a Sundance and Emmy Award winner. The movie, backed by the Weinstein Company, shows the effects of bullying on a middle school student, a high schooler, a 14-year-old who is in juvenile detention after trying to scare off her bullies with a loaded handgun, and two families of 11-year-old and 17-year-old students who committed suicide after being bullied.

A movement to change the film's R rating to PG-13was started by Katy Butler, a high school student in Michigan who was bullied. She created an online petition on, urging the Motion Picture Association of America to lower the rating. Three edits were made to the film to change the rating to PG-13.

"This film has the potential to change the world and change the culture of violence in many schools. But your decision to give this movie an R means that the people who need to see this movie the most—teenagers who are either bullying their peers or suffering from violence and torment at the hands of bullies—won't get to see this film," she said in the petition.

Bully pulpit

More than 500,000 supporters joined a campaign recently to get the rating of documentary "Bully" lowered from R to PG-13 so it could be shown in schools. Congressional leaders and celebrities have spoken out or tweeted in favor of lowering the rating and in support of the film. The movie will open in theaters with a PG-13 rating. Among the celebs:

Ellen DeGeneres

Johnny Depp

Justin Bieber

Michael Jordan

Ricky Martin

Hugh Jackman

Jessica Simpson

Kim Kardashian

Mariah Carey

Katy Perry | @lvivanco

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