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Posted on Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 5:22 p.m.

Ellen DeGeneres to Ann Arbor teen on 'Bully' petition: 'I'm proud of you'

By Danielle Arndt

Ann Arbor teen Katy Butler appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in Los Angeles Wednesday morning.

Cameras panned to Butler, who was seated in the audience, as the talk show host gave her own kudos for the documentary “Bully” and Butler’s online petition to the Motion Picture Association of America.

“I’m proud of you,” DeGeneres told Butler.

Butler delivered her 223,000-plus (and growing) signatures to the MPAA’s office near Los Angeles on Wednesday. Her goal for the petition on is 300,000 and for the MPAA to reduce the rating of “Bully” from R to PG-13.

DeGeneres said she saw the film in February and believes the language in it is real language that real bullies use.

“I can tell you that the lessons the kids learn from this movie are more important than any words they might hear — and they are words they already know anyway,” she said on her show.

DeGeneres signed Butler’s petition and encouraged others to do the same.

The MPAA released a statement Wednesday evening in response to Butler’s petition. The statement defended the organization’s R rating of “Bully.”

Joan Graves, chairman of the Classification and Rating Administration, wrote:

“Katy Butler’s effort in bringing the issue of bullying to the forefront of a national discussion in the context of this new film is commendable, and we welcome the feedback about this movie’s rating,”

“The MPAA shares Katy’s goals of shining a light on the problem of bullying and we hope her efforts will fuel more discussion among educators, parents and children.

“The voluntary ratings system enables parents to make an informed decision about what content they allow their children to see in movies. The R rating and description of ‘some language’ for ‘Bully’ does not mean children cannot see the film.

“As with any movie, parents will decide if they want their children to see Bully. School districts, similarly, handle the determination of showing movies on a case-by-case basis and have their own guidelines for parental approval.

“The R rating is not a judgment on the value of any movie. The rating simply conveys to parents that a film has elements strong enough to require careful consideration before allowing their children to view it. Once advised, many parents may take their kids to see an R-rated film.”

Staff reporter Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at


Ross Ellis

Thu, Mar 8, 2012 : 9:08 p.m.

Kudos to Katy Butler -- an amazing teen activist. Katy knows first hand what bullying is like. Unfortunately so do hundreds of thousands of other kids and teens. Ellen Degeneres and all of us who have either seen the film or know just how bad bullying is understand the need for this film to be seen by kids. Bullying hurts and it takes lives. The MPAA could be a real partner in this effort if they would just realize the language in this film is not harmful to kids. Bullying is! In fact, kids need to see this as a wake up call to stop their horrible behavior. The film would lose impact if the language were bleeped or removed. Bullying has reached epidemic proportions. It's taken so many lives --tragically. It must stop! As the leading national anti-bullying organization in this country we know just how bad bullying is. And we know how important this film is for every student to see. We urge the MPAA to recognize Katy's petitions and change the film's rating to PG-13. MPAA -- if you do, you can help save so many lives! Ross Ellis Founder and Chief Executive Officer STOMP Out Bullying <a href="http://www.stompoutbullying,org" rel='nofollow'>www.stompoutbullying,org</a>


Thu, Mar 8, 2012 : 4:53 p.m.

I really love the work Ellen does. But after seeing her new commercials has really lowered how I view her. I wish she would not do these commercials because they really dumb her down. As for Bully? If I get a chance to? I would take mine to see this film as well. Need to get on that site and sign. If Ellen does what she says she will do, I think the MPAA will take another stance on this film. As for editing? I agree, this would not make the impact that it would make as it stands now. The MPAA should use PG 13 for special circumstances and I hope they change their minds. Otherwise, anyone up for an Occupy MPAA?


Thu, Mar 8, 2012 : 5:32 a.m.

I know my parents would never consider taking me to see an R rated film when I was in high school. I agree with Ms. Butler and maybe they can get their hands on an edited version sometime in the near future. Or I hope that their parents will take them. Maybe the school can get an edited copy and play it for them?

N. Todd

Thu, Mar 8, 2012 : 6:25 a.m.

Unfortunately, 'edited' versions often lose their impact. I have to imagine that this film would do the same, especially if being viewed in the classroom setting. High school kids, at least in my day, would have a field day watching a 'watered-down' version of a film about such an important topic. That being said, I hope schools decide to show the film, regardless of the MPAA rating it ends up with.