Entertainment & Arts

Harvey Weinstein film Bully given PG-13 rating

Director Lee Hirsch (r) with (clockwise) Kelby Johnson, Tina Long and Alex Libby
Image caption Bully director Lee Hirch celebrates with the teenagers featured in the documentary at the film's LA premiere

The director of the documentary Bully has declared "victory" after an edited version of his film received a disputed PG-13 rating.

Bully became the subject of a row between the Motion Picture Association of America and studio The Weinstein Company after it received an R rating.

Lee Hirsch agreed to remove three uses of bad language, but kept a key scene where the same word is used repeatedly.

"The whole scene is intact and that... was a great victory for me," he said.

"I'm just glad that we held strong. I think this is a great resolution," Hirsch told Reuters news agency.

The film opened in Los Angeles and New York last weekend without a rating, after the Weinstein Company chose to ignore the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) earlier R rating.

An R rating means children under the age of 17 are not able to watch the film, about bullying in US schools, without a parent present.

Appeal failure

Studio boss Harvey Weintein and Alex Libby, a bullied teenager featured in the documentary, had appealed to the MPAA to have the rating cut, but lost a vote to reverse the decision by one vote.

"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," Weinstein said in February.

An R rating also meant the film would not have been allowed to be shown in schools.

Image caption Weinstein's company are behind Oscar-nominated film The Artist

Releasing the film unrated means anyone can be admitted to a cinema that agrees to screen it - but in the past, many major cinema chains have rejected films without an MPAA rating.

In a statement last month, MPAA appeal board chairman Joan Graves said the rating was not a comment on the film's subject matter but was imposed for "some language".

Their decision was based on the use of a certain curse word that is used six times in the movie.

But Hirsch had argued that the language was a reflection of real life: "It's what the children who are victims of bullying face on most days."

The film will now be released across the US on 13 April with a PG-13 rating - which warns parents that some material may be unsuitable for children under the age of 13.

"We are pleased The Weinstein Company respected the rules and processes of the voluntary ratings system by editing and resubmitting Bully in order to receive the PG-13 rating," said Patrick Corcoran, Director of Media & Research for the National Association of Theater Owners.

Bully follows students and families in Texas, Mississippi, Georgia, Iowa and Oklahoma.

It also touches on the suicides of two bullied teenagers Tyler Long and Ty Smalley.

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