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Hollywood is coming out in full force to convince the MPAA to overturn the R-rating of the documentary Bully. The latest to join the cause are Justin Bieber, Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep. In fact, the Oscar-winning actress has gone as far as to hold a March 20 screening of the movie in New York City to help raise awareness for the film.
They join celebrities like Demi Lovato and Ellen DeGeneres in the cry to lower the rating. "Please help repeal the R rating on 'BULLY.' EVERYONE should be able to see it. Sign the petition," Lovato tweeted to her fans last week.
The petition she is talking about is headed by Michigan high school student Katy Butler, who currently has over 300,000 signatures and the support of 26 Congress members. In addition, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, chief of AMC Theaters Gerry Lopez and David Boies, one of the two attorneys responsible for overturning Proposition 8 in California, have issued their support.
MPAA spokesman Howard Gantman responded yesterday to the growing demand for a revision on Bully's rating, but never once address the possibility of it being lowered to PG-13.
"We respect the viewpoints of members of Congress and the public and Hollywood celebrities who care deeply about an issue that is troubling our nation," he said in an email to The Wall Street Journal. "The MPAA shares the goal of shining a light on the problems caused by bullying, and we hope that this new film and the national discussion about it among educators, parents and students will help lead to ways to better ensure that kids feel safe and protected when they come to school."
The MPAA issued the R rating on account of language in the film apparently. The appropriately titled film seeks to raise awareness about the problem of bullying in America's school systems. But if the film's R rating sticks, teenagers under 17 (who could benefit the most from its message) will not be allowed to see it, and high schools will not be able to screen it in class.
Watch the trailer for Bully below: