Attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson, who successfully challenged California’s ban on same-sex marriage, are now urging the Motion Picture Association of America to lower the R rating for the documentary Bully.
Last night while being interviewed at a special screening of the film cohosted by Boies, Olson, and actresses Meryl Streep and her daughter Mamie Gummer, the two attorneys praised the film, a nonfiction chronicle of American schoolchildren being bullied by fellow students, as one that all teenagers should see. The two men even suggested that there could be legal consequences for the MPAA if they don’t reconsider the restrictive rating for the documentary.
“How ridiculous and unfair and damaging it is to have a film of this power and importance that is being censored by a rating system that has got simply no rational basis,” Boies said. “You can kill kids, you can maim them, you can torture them and still get a PG-13 rating, but if they say a couple of bad words, you blame them. I hope, for heaven's sake, that they find some rational basis before we have to sue them to revise the rating system."
Olson suggested that students be permitted to see the film, which will be released March 30, so they can understand the damage caused by bullying.
“This is an irrational decision, and I've heard it defended as '[The MPAA] really can't do anything about it because if we make an exception here, they'll be all sorts of people lined up wanting to have exceptions made with respect to their movies,'” Olson said. “What a reason for not doing something. So they better shape up, or here we come.”
During the event at New York's Paley Center for Media, Streep learned that her daughter had come to the aid of bullied classmates. The New York Daily News reports that actress Regency Boies, David Boies's daughter, remembered the times her classmate Gummer came to the aid of fellow students who were being tormented.
“I saw her on more than a few occasions come to the rescue of some of our classmates that were being ridiculed when none of the rest of us were brave enough to confront them,” Boies said, adding that she knew Gummer’s actions were a product of the integrity and the kindness that Streep had instilled in her.