This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001



Lee Hirsch’s highly anticipated documentary, Bully, took a serious blow earlier this week when the Motion Picture Association of America’s Classification and Rating Administration refused to change the film’s rating from an R to PG-13 (based primarily on foul language), falling short by a single vote. Losing the appeal means that Hirsch will not be able to screen the film, which follows five stories of real-life bullying, in many schools around the country. After the appeal was denied, executive producer Harvey Weinstein released a statement that said in part, “As of today, the Weinstein Company is considering a leave of absence from the MPAA for the foreseeable future. We respect the MPAA and their process but feel this time it has just been a bridge too far. I have been through many of these appeals, but this one-vote loss is a huge blow to me personally. Alex Libby gave an impassioned plea and eloquently defended the need for kids to be able to see this movie on their own, not with their parents, because that is the only way to truly make a change.” Libby is one of the featured bullying victims in the film, which opens in theaters March 30. Hirsch (Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony) added, “To say that I am disappointed and distressed would be a grave understatement. It is my great hope that Bully reaches the audience for whom it was made: kids, the bullied, and the bullies and the 80% of kids who can make the most impact by becoming upstanders rather than bystanders.”

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