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Posted on Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 4:05 p.m.

Parents Television Council likes 'Bully' rating, despite Ann Arbor teen's efforts

By Danielle Arndt

Ann Arbor teen Katy Butler’s petition urging the film-ratings board to overturn the R rating it gave to the documentary "Bully" has garnered more than 250,000 signatures, but at least one organization is OK with the rating.


Katy Butler, 17, of Ann Arbor, poses outside the Motion Picture Association of America in California Wednesday with several boxes of signatures generated by her online petition.

AP Photo

The Parents Television Council commended the Motion Picture Association of America for standing its ground despite pressure from the public and the film's distributors to lower the rating to PG-13.

The group said its position is based on the language reportedly used in the film. The MPAA also cited language as the reason for the rating.

The council called for increased public involvement in the ratings process.

Butler has received national attention for her petition. The 17-year-old, who identifies as a lesbian, endured harsh name-calling, shoving and tormenting while in middle school at Ann Arbor Public Schools. She also said bullies slammed her finger in her locker, breaking her finger.

In the past week and a half as notoriety of Butler’s petition grew, the number of signatures skyrocketed from 89,000 to more than 269,000 (as of Friday afternoon).

Butler, who is now a junior at Greenhills School, traveled to the MPAA’s office outside of Los Angeles Wednesday to deliver her petition in person. She also appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” where the comedian/talk show host praised Butler’s efforts.

Later Wednesday, the MPAA released a statement defending the organization’s rating of the movie. The statement can be found here.

To read previous coverage of Butler’s efforts, or to watch a preview of “Bully,” click here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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


Ross Ellis

Fri, Mar 16, 2012 : 11:51 p.m.

We are truly disturbed at the stance that the Parent's Television Council is taking on the rating of the movie "BULLY". Have their children NEVER heard this language in school? Their stance is shocking and remarkable to say the least. Very disappointed in this group. Bullying is rampant and so is the language in schools. Kids need to see this film. Ross Ellis Founder and Chief Executive Officer STOMP Out Bullying


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 6:07 p.m.

Kathleen, thank you for your insightful comment and for your recommendation. I have not seen the film, but perhaps it should be required watching for all middle/high schoolers??

Kathleen Kosobud

Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 3:20 p.m.

I saw the film, shown at the Learning Disabilities Association national conference in Chicago two weeks ago. There is no language in the film that teens have not heard. Although it may appear shocking to adults, it seems to me that this is one of the points of the film. Children who are bullied suffer a great deal of pain--much of it inflicted through the words used against them. The film opens important conversations about the damages suffered by the victims of bullying, behaviors that contribute to an environment that fosters bullying, and what all of us can do to reduce or eliminate tolerance of bullying. All kinds of children have been targets for bullying at one time or another. As a parent and teacher, I hope that you and your children have been spared that pain. For those who have not, this is a film well worth seeing, language and all.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 3:05 p.m.

Yeah, let's keep it hidden and "under wraps" .... that's a very effective method of dealing with it. Maybe it will go away if we don't talk about it. Believe me, teenagers are exposed to far-worse "language" in the course of their normal days at school. Oh, and my guess is that most teens who want to see it will .... because no one asks for ID at the movie theaters anyway.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 2:54 a.m.

I still don't understand why they can't just beep or edit out the language to lower the rating. You can always still tell what they said for the most part.


Sat, Mar 10, 2012 : 1:30 a.m.

I commend her effort, but that doesn't mean I want my younger kids to see the movie. How about I see it first and decide for myself. I wonder how many of the signatures represent parents.


Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 10:02 p.m.

Sounds like Katy Butler's petition is trying to "BULLY" the film-ratings board! This part of the "Chick-if-a-cation" of America?