Katy Butler, a high school student and onetime victim of bullying, delivered more than 200,000 petition signatures to the Motion Picture Association of America, urging the group to lower the “R” rating of the anti-bullying documentary “Bully” so young people can view the film. Butler discusses her efforts with msnbc’s Thomas Roberts.
>>> have you heard about it? it is the must-see documentary for kids and kids can’t even see it. it is called bullying examining the impact of bullying and it is getting push-back. it is rated “r” making it off limits to the intended audiences, but one 17-year-old recently started a petition to change all that. and she’s got some big support on her side.
>> a petition has been started by a high school student in michigan to change the rating. her name is katie butler and is in the audience today. hi, katie . good for you. i’m proud of you.
>> over 200,000 people have signed katie ‘s petition, including ellen, but will it make a difference? katie butler is joining me now. nice to see you today.
>> you too, thank you so much for having me.
>> absolutely. you, yourself, had a personal reaction to bullying, the experience that you suffered in your own life and now seeing this film, what can you tell us about your own personal experiences and why you want a petition to make sure kids see this film?
>> well, when i was in seventh grade, i came out as a lesbian to my school, and a lot of people in any school didn’t like. that they bullied me and pushed me into lockers and ended up one daybreaking my finger. and that was a really horrible experience. so when i saw that the new movie “bully” was coming out, i though thing. it was so exciting because it could be such a new take on bullying in the united states .
>> so, katie , when you decided to do this petition, did you ever think you would get the attention of ellen degeneres , and how has that changed the media onslaught you have gotten since?
>> i had absolutely no idea it would get this big. i’m so glad it did because bullying is such a real issue. and i think so many more people are paying attention to it now that ellen is supporting it. it’s so great. i’m so thankful for it.
>> i want to play a little clip of the film. take a peek.
>> and i think he got to the point where enough was enough.
>> he had a tragic situation.
>> a boy just 11 years old desperate enough to take his own life.
>> boys will be boys . they are just cruel at this age.
>> here what we get is, nothing is wrong, we didn’t do anything, everything is fine.
>> they would punch me, strangle me, take things from me, sit on me.
>> give it to him hard!
>> he’s not safe on that bus.
>> i’ve been on that bus. they are just as good as gold.
>> katie , that’s just part of the film from the trailer. it’s really a raw and emotional look. it does have the “r” rating because of profanity in the film. do you think they should take it on the chin, basically, the company that’s producing this, and re-edit the film to sanitize the language? or do you think they can win and you can win as well by having the rating changed to pg-13?
>> i think we can definitely win. i think taking out the language in this movie is taking away from the message. the message is so strong. and the language in the movie is the language kids hear every day and the language kids are bullied with. if we go in and take it out, it is definitely taking away from that. nobody goes into schools and edits out the language kids hear in schools, it just doesn’t happen.
>> the film comes out on march 30th nationally. we’ll see what shall happen between now and then about whether or not it is going to get lowered to the pg-13, but your efforts need to be harrowed. katie butler, i appreciate it.
- Ellen DeGeneres Battles ‘R’ Rating For Anti-Bullying Movie (hollywood.com)
- Ellen DeGeneres, other celebrities, politicians sign petition to change ‘Bully’ film to PG-13 rating (miamiherald.typepad.com)
- Ellen DeGeneres, Demi Lovato Fight ‘R’ Rating on Anti-Bullying Movie (people.com)
- Ellen Joins Teen Katy Butler to get PG-13 Rating for ‘Bully’ (pinkbananaworld.com)
- Meet Katy Butler – Another Teen Doing What She Can To Make It Better Right Now! (kcareyinfante.com)
- Teenager petitions to change R rating for ‘Bully’ (pbpulse.com)
- ‘Bully’ controversy: Teens petition to change R rating in U.S. (ctv.ca)
- Ellen Degeneres sides with teen in debate over bullying movie (latimesblogs.latimes.com)
- MPAA receives 200K signatures from bullied student urging reversal of R rating for ‘Bully’ (miamiherald.typepad.com)
- Teenager petitions to change R rating for `Bully’ (seattletimes.nwsource.com)