Credit: Michael Dwyer/The Weinstein Company
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After yesterday’s surprising announcement that the MPAA granted a PG-13 rating to a re-edited cut of The Weinstein Company’s Bully, the Parents Television Council is calling out the film ratings organization for its “special treatment” of the teen bullying doc.

“When it comes to the MPAA’s content rating system, what was, at one point, a standard has devolved into a double-standard and now into no standard,” said PTC President Tim Winter in a press release. “Moving the yardstick from one ‘f-bomb’ to three essentially removes the yardstick altogether.”

Winter is referring to the newly edited version of the documentary, which managed to earn its desired PG-13 rating after cutting three of the film’s six F-words (while keeping intact a key scene, involving a teenager being harangued on a school bus, which featured the other three uses of the word).

At the core of the PTC’s argument is an accusation against TWC that the insistence on a lowered rating was purely for profits, rather than a genuine desire to help children. The PTC split its disdain equally between Weinstein and the MPAA, criticizing the former for not waiving admission for children, and calling for the latter to reform its content rating system “so it reflects the sense of the nation and not just the sense of Hollywood powerbrokers.”

The interesting note here is that the PTC had previously warned that releasing the film as an unrated feature, as was initially TWC’s plan, would threaten to undermine the entire MPAA system. Now that Bully will in fact be released with an MPAA rating, the Council is still unhappy and has shifted its protest towards urging the organization “to allow greater input from the public rather than just Hollywood insiders.” It appears as if the Council would only have been happy with an R rating for the film, or no release at all.

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  • Larry Clark