The controversial documentary Bully will be released without a rating, prompting director Lee Hirsch to say he knows "kids will come, so it's up to the theaters to let them in."
Entertainment Weekly reports the film, which looks at the bullying epidemic in the American school system, will be released in Los Angeles and New York Friday without a rating. Theater owners will then be able to make decisions on who will be permitted to see the film. This is despite the efforts of the Weinstein Co., numerous high-profile personalities including marriage equality attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson, and others to have the rating changed by the Motion Picture Association of America from R to PG-13, which would allow it to be seen by a wider audience, including the young people being affected by bullying.
Katy Butler, the lesbian teen who famously launched a petition that collected nearly half a million signatures to urge the MPAA rating changed to PG-13 also released a statement, saying, “I am happy Bully will maintain its authenticity and will be an accurate portrayal of what thousands of kids experience every day.”
In a statement released to the media by the Weinstein Co., Hirsch defends the decision to not edit out the language used by the teens in the film. "The small amount of language in the film that's responsible for the R rating is there because it's real. It's what the children who are victims of bullying face on most days,” he says. “All of our supporters see that, and we're grateful for the support we've received across the board. I know the kids will come, so it's up to the theaters to let them in."