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Michigan teen lowers documentary rating

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screengrab from Ellen DeGeneres
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Kayty Butler on the Ellen DeGeneres Show

An Ann Arbor-area teen took on the MPAA and won.

Bob Needham from AnnArbor.com writes that earlier this year, high-schooler Katy Butler started an online petition urging the Motion Picture Association of America to change its rating of the forthcoming documentary "Bully" from R to PG-13. Butler gathered over half a million signatures in hopes of making the film accessible to younger viewers, Needham says, and now it appears she has achieved her goal.

The LA Times reports that, in exchange for the lowered lowered rating, the film, "which focuses on the issue of teen bullying through the lens of five families," will be re-cut slightly to remove some profanity under the terms of a deal between the film's distributor and the MPAA.

From the Times:

The new cut of the Lee Hirsch film makes some concessions to the MPAA: It removes an obscenity that begins with the prefix “mother” in an early scene, along with two other quickly uttered F-words...But the new cut leaves intact a controversial scene on a school bus in which three F-words are used against a bullied child.

According to AnnArbor.com, Katy Butler's cause was helped along by a swell of national attention including an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres' show and support from Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp.

In an essay for the Daily Beast, Butler says she is motivated to raise awareness about bullying because she herself faced years of mistreatment from her peers after coming out as a Lesbian in 7th grade.

You can take a look at the trailer for "Bully" below.

 

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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