Harvey Gets Angry, Threatens to 'Leave' the MPAA Over 'Bully' Rating

February 23, 2012
Source: Deadline

Bully / Harvey Weinstein

Oh boy, don't piss off Harvey Weinstein. Thankfully, it's the MPAA who did this time. There's been an on-going debate over the rating of a documentary The Weinstein Company is releasing called Bully, about bullying in schools, since it received an R-rating and they want to show it in schools. They appealed to get a PG-13, but lost today, and now Harvey is pissed, sending out press releases (one via Deadline) that go so far as to say "The Weinstein Company is considering a leave of absence from the MPAA for the foreseeable future." Whoa wait, what?! Is that even possible? I say do it, time to fight back and who better than Harvey!

The press release focuses mostly on their dissatisfaction with the MPAA's decision, and how Bully deserves to be seen and this is interrupting that. "The appeal board's decision eliminates the potential for Bully to reach a mass national audience of students through screenings at U.S. middle and high schools, where the film could be used as a tool to stop an epidemic of physical, psychological and emotional violence." Harvey personally attended the appeal along with Alex Libby, one of the bullied children whose experiences are documented. 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."

Harvey continues in the press release (view in full here):

"With school-age children of my own, I know this is a crucial issue and school districts across the U.S. have responded in kind. The Cincinnati school district signed on to bus 40,000 of their students to the movie – but because the appeals board retained the R rating, the school district will have to cancel those plans."

"I personally am going to ask celebrities and personalities worldwide, from Lady Gaga (who has a foundation of her own) to the Duchess of Cambridge (who was a victim of bullying and donated wedding proceeds) to First Lady Michelle Obama (whose foundation has reached out to us as well), to take a stand with me in eradicating bullying and getting the youth into see this movie without restriction."

In industry speak, that's kind of like "bring it on", which is awesome, I say go for it. I'm very curious to see if he holds up to this "considering a leave of absence from the MPAA" threat or if it's just a way to build extra buzz, like this, and get the MPAA to cave. However, I'm also wondering if this kind of push will actually start a change in the MPAA, but only time will tell. Bully is set to be released in theaters on March 30th anyway. You can follow details on the appeal and their decision to fight back from the press release a few days ago.

"We respect the MPAA and their process but feel this time it has just been a bridge too far," he adds. "I have been through many of these appeals, but this one vote loss is a huge blow to me personally," And when he takes on a personal challenge like this, you know he's not going to stop until it's settled. Especially with the likes of Lady Gaga and First Lady Michelle Obama, that may just be the kind of power and leverage needed to actually make some changes. I love that some people are really starting to rattle the cages of the MPAA, with Film School Rejects' petition and now this chance for Harvey and his company to test the fences. We'll have to keep you updated on Bully's rating and how they plan to fight back against the MPAA. Can he win?

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  <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin-top:0in; margin-right:0in; margin-bottom:10.0pt; margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:Cambria; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --I’ve always thought of the MPAA as an old and decrepit organization that uses an out of date ruling system that does not fit in today’s society.  If you say Fuck, the movie is basically given an immediate R rating, if there is a lot of blood, then its given an r rating.  In certain situations yes an R rating is called for, but I think language should be ruled out given the fact that kids younger than the age of 10 are already using vulgar and derogatory language. Since the movie's subject reflects on children of this generation, they should watch it.  Forget watch, they need to watch it.  Clearly the MPAA is living in the past and the people deciding the ratings or at least those who voted against it need to either wake up or retire.

Michael Lee on Feb 23, 2012


Agreed 100%. I'll add that nudity needs to be revisited too.  Why is it ok to shoot someone on prime-time TV, but you show 1 nipple and it's suddenly porn?  I'm not trying to appeal to the prurient interests of the Internet's darkest places, but I think we have our priorities mixed up and the MPAA is (partially) to blame.  I know the MPAA is the byproduct of self-regulation in the face of government-imposed regulation, but it's time to re-evaluate entertainment.  Two fucks an R movie does not make.

McWetty on Feb 23, 2012


Hey McWetty, guns and murder are totally fine, it's part of life right? Because humans don't need to have sex, it's dirty and sinful. I saw a boob once on tv and my head exploded. Also on the swearing thing, my son said 'fucking' at age 2, because he'd overheard it so much, not in my company, but at his playgroup. My friend Will's first word ever was 'fuck', seriously.

Crapola on Feb 24, 2012


Thats your own fucking problem if you werent paying close enough attention to your 2 year old child. Not anyone elses. Also some people dont believe in "sins" ( I know shocking) if your religous and it has "sins" in it, dont watch it.

Chip_Tha_Ripper on Feb 24, 2012


Sorry next time I'll strap my child to me like a tribeswoman in the jungle. Your so grumpy Chip, chill out, after I kicked my son so many times blood came out his eyes he hasn't sworn since. I was I was religious then I'd forgive you, for your outburst. Are you like a militant aitheist?

Crapola on Feb 24, 2012


No you idiot im christian. Im just not a dumbass who lets his two year old run buck wild and complain about it.

Chip_Tha_Ripper on Feb 24, 2012


Nice one Chip. I barely cared about my child really during it's first two years, I often though of killing him along with myself and his mother but now, I am pretty happy with it. Still I think I have been a better father than most parents in my area. Weirdly I was brought up in a fairly full on Christian background, in a kind of funded by the plastic Paddy sort of way if you know what I mean. I had an aunt who had a child out of wedlock, so the church 'confiscated' it so to speak, for it's own good. Turned out to be one of the worst kid fucking rings in Ireland and the sexually depraved priests probably fucked the shit out of my cousin, he was never seen or heard of again. Demons walk in mans skin and always have, people and books just define them differently.

Crapola on Feb 25, 2012


Cool story bro

Chip_Tha_Ripper on Feb 26, 2012


Me thinks I sensed a hint of satire in Crapola's comments. lol Either way this is hilarious.

Thavius on Feb 27, 2012


Parents and others who don't think children today use or understand the meaning of foul language and graphicly violent description have obviously never listened to the kids on an average playground nowadays. Every time I go to pick up my nieces and nephew I am blown away by the manner in which kids today talk to one another. They're using language and descriptions I didn't even use when I was working on the oil rigs in northern Canada. If the MPAA thinks they alone are standing in the way of children ever learning or using "bad words" then they have another think coming.

Thexn on Feb 23, 2012


What's the problem here? If they can show that Scared Straight documentary to kids, why can't they show this? People put too much emphasis on ratings. If you ignore them, they don't exist. Sex ISN'T natural, so it deserves an R. Violence IS natural, so it deserves a PG-13. The whole system is ridiculous, and the only person who deserve a say is the parent concerned with the particular child who is viewing. It's the reason they invented permission slips.

David Balderdash on Feb 23, 2012


Seriously this is stupid. Kids start bullying, and use foul language at a very early age. My brother has cerebal palsy and I got to see him teased my whole life until now he is an adult and thankfully people are a bit nicer. If you are a parent and you think your child isn't using foul, hateful language, most likely you are wrong. Kids either are pressured to tease at a very early age, or they are teased. 

Kyle A. Kiekintveld on Feb 23, 2012


And MPAA should be listed as the First Bullyer of Hollywood.

Alfonso on Feb 23, 2012


Go Harvey Go! I hope there's a petition out there, i'd definitely sign up.

Aurora Studio on Feb 23, 2012


Sorry, Just saw the petition. I'm there.

Aurora Studio on Feb 23, 2012


Cause 14 year olds where really gonna line up in droves to see this...

happy camper on Feb 23, 2012


Reminds me of when Marvel told the Comics Code Authority to go screw when they published an issue of Spider-Man dealing with drug abuse in the 80's. And as time passed, the comics market began to police itself and no major company readily uses the CCA anymore. I'm not even sure it still exists. Also, if you want to see how far off they are from what the MPAA is supposed to be, watch the documentary "This Film is Not Yet Rated". Not the best doc in the world, but it will teach you things.

Scotty97 on Feb 23, 2012


Well the MPAA isn't something to really listen to. Give schools a free copy of the film, and require them show it in each and every classroom, if its truly important then The Winsteins need to worry about a profit from theater runs.   

Xerxexx on Feb 23, 2012


Harvey would also be very upset about this story of a pathetic dinner he had with another movie mogul when he was down and out...

jillkennedy on Feb 23, 2012


If only.. This is a publicity stunt at best. I freakin hate the MPAA! Nice try Harvey, you almost made me like you, almost.. He's never gonna go through with it come on everyone knows that..

Davide Coppola on Feb 24, 2012


Never heard anything positive about the MPAA.  Getting a whistle blown on them via a movie titled "Bully" is kind of poetic justice.  Sadly, doubt anything will come of it. 

bozo connors on Feb 24, 2012


Life is always R-Rated, at least. The MPAA should acknowledge that most 8 year olds and school kids live day to day lives that toe the R-Rated line if not worse. The topic seems worth the conflict in this case.

Voice of Reason on Feb 24, 2012


Fuck the MPAA.

M.K. Nielsen on Feb 24, 2012


I agree with what Harvey is fighting for, but its ironic that this situation involves a man who has become the industry titan that he is through BULLYING people.

Thehornetking on Feb 24, 2012


I think the real danger here is that schools get mixed up, and rent or buy the OTHER r-rated film titled 'Bully'. It's a Larry Clark film, so it's basically kiddie porn. Also it pretty much teaches you how to bully and then murder someone. Ridiculous movie. 

Lebowski on Feb 24, 2012


If this is genuine it would be incredible news for the world of censorship. It would take a big company to change something as archaic as the MPAA. But as others have stated, it does sound like a stunt...  

Thavius on Feb 26, 2012


MPAA sucks.  I've been saying for years! that they need to change the system.  Its too old fasoned,  It worked for when it was started.  Maybe it needs to be changed for today's generation.?  and bullying is no "PG" topic.  Some of that shit is intense.  and THEY SHOULD SHOW IT IN SCHOOLS AS IS

Michael Baldwin on Feb 26, 2012


Watch this movie. Its a very insightful and also entertaining look at the hypocrisy that is the MPAA. Stream-able on Netflix.

MovieFan14 on Mar 5, 2012

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