The documentary follows five American students who were bullied at school, including two students whose tormenting ended in their suicides.
The original issue behind the “R” rating was a painfully brutal sceneÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â that showed 15-year-old Alex Libby getting viciously harassedÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â on a school bus. The inclusion of three Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â ”F-word” Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â references were enough to convince the MPAA to give the film an “R” rating.
When the film originally missed out on a PG-13 rating, producers decided to opt out of the rating system entirely, instead going for the standard ‘not rated’ disclaimer. But the public outcry kept the fight for a PG-13 alive, led by several celebrities, includingÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â including Anderson Cooper, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneresÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â and Johnny Depp. More than half a million citizens signed a petition on Change.org to lower the rating. The effectiveness of the MPAA suddenly came into question. Opponents pointed out that a commercially successful film like ‘The Hunger Games,’ which seemingly glorifies a contest that centers on a contest to the death among teens had managed to get a PG-13, but an important documentary that could influence change among our nation’s youth could not.
Finally, after some negotiation,Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Director Lee Hirsch managed to keep the key scene in, but still get a PG-13 by removing three uses of the “F”-word.
Hirsch tells ABC’s Nightline: “I am excited that kids my age can easily go see the movie now that we have a PG-13 rating … I hope everyone who’s ever been bullied watches this and knows they’re not alone, and that they can stand up for themselves like I do now.”
The Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â film is slated for wide release on April 13.
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