A teen activist has collected more than 200,000 signatures on a petition urging U.S. officials to change the R rating of the documentary Bully, while the film has received a PG rating in British Columbia.
Katy Butler, 17, who lives in the U.S., has been urging the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to change the film's rating to PG-13 so that young people can see it.
Bully exposes the epidemic of bullying in U.S. schools by following five victims and their experiences over the school year.
Butler met with MPAA officials in Sherman Oaks, Calif., on Wednesday and delivered four boxes containing the signatures she collected online. Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has also supported the rating-change campaign.
MPAA representative Joan Graves said though Bully is a "wonderful film," the organization's primary responsibility is to provide information to parents about films' content.
The group gave the documentary an R rating because Bully includes profanity in some schoolyard scenes. The rating means that audience members under 17 require a parent or guardian to accompany them.
Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has been vocal in protesting the restrictive rating, which also means the Lee Hirsch film could not be screened in U.S. middle and high schools.
'Coarse language' warning included in B.C.
Meanwhile, Bully has received a PG rating in B.C., according to the movie's Canadian distributor, Alliance Films. In Canada, movie ratings are set by film boards in each province or territory.
Bully's official rating in B.C. includes an additional warning of "coarse language; theme of bullying."
"I'm so humbled and incredibly inspired by the collective voices across the U.S. and Canada about this film. Last night, I learned of the B.C. board’s decision to grant Bully a PG-rating. I am thrilled that kids of all ages can now join their parents, teachers, social work advocates and leaders to bring about change for this deeply important cause," Hirsch said in a statement.
A PG classification advises parental guidance and notes that the content may not be suitable for all children. However, there is no age restriction for viewing the film.
Bully opens in select theatres across Canada on April 6.