Twenty-seven members of Congress have signed onto a Change.org petition asking the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to lower the “R” rating it gave to the anti-bullying documentary Bully. Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) took the lead recruiting members of Congress to join the nearly 300,000 already petitioning to have the rating changed with a letter to former Senator Chris Dodd, who is now CEO of the MPAA:
Over 13 million American youths will be bullied over the course of this year alone, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in our nation. We cannot hope to control this epidemic and make our neighborhoods safer for our youth without discussing tough issues publicly and bringing them to the forefront of the consciousness of the American public.
The new documentary film Bully… offers an unprecedented look into the lives of youth being bullied and harassed…. I believe an R-rating excludes the very audience for whom this film is most important, and ask you to join us in calling upon the MPAA to reconsider their rating and allow access to those who need to see this film most — today’s youth and our future leaders.
The growing list of cosigners includes: Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Laura Richardson (D-CA), Tom Cole (R-OK), Jared Polis (D-CO), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Jesse Jackson (D-IL), Hansen Clarke (D-MI), John Garamendi (D-CA), Joe Baca (D-CA), John Olver (D-MA), Barbara Lee (D-CA) José E. Serrano (D-NY), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Betsy McCollum (D-MN), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Jim Moran (D-CA), Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Pete Stark (D-CA), Adam Smith (D-WA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Danny Davis (D-IL), and Edolphus Towns (D-NY), and Dels. Gregorio Sablan (D-MP) and Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU).
The film received a “PG” rating in Canada, which means that people of all ages will be free to see it there. Katy Butler, the high school student who started the petition, explained on MSNBC today the importance of making sure young people can see and discuss the film, saying, “no one goes into schools and edits out the language that kids hear.”