WASHINGTON, DC More than 20 Members of Congress and prominent celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees have thrown their support behind a campaign started by a bullied Michigan high school student, urging the Motion Picture Association of America ( MPAA ) to change the "R" rating of the movie "Bully" to "PG-13."
Katy Butler, a junior in high school who has experienced severe bullying, started the campaign on Change.org after the MPAA ruled by one vote that "Bully" should receive an "R" rating. Her petition has now received more than 275,000 signatures, with Butler herself delivering more than 200,000 of those signatures to the MPAA's Los Angeles office last week, where she had a meeting with Joan Graves, the MPAA's Head of Classification and Ratings Division.
Rep. Mike Honda ( D-Calif. ) has now issued a bipartisan letter to the MPAA, signed on by 20 additional Members of Congress, supporting Katy's petition and urging the MPAA to drop the "R" rating for "Bully."
"We are writing to express our sincere disappointment in the MPAA's decision to issue an 'R' rating for the soon-to-be-released documentary 'Bully.' This important project shows the real life anguish of many teenagers in this country who are tormented, harassed, and bullied by their peers," say the Members of Congress in their letter. "This truth should be shared with as wide an audience as is appropriate and possible. We believe an R-rating excludes the very audience for whom this film is desperately important."
Butler's campaign has also received support from celebrities, including talk show host Ellen DeGeneres who urged her viewers and nine million Twitter followers to sign Katy's petition, as well as New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, actor Avan Tudor Jogia, and singer/actress Demi Lovato, who urged her more than five million Twitter followers to sign Katy's petition on Change.org .
Butler continues to keep pressure on the MPAA to change the "R" rating for "Bully," saying that a "PG-13" rating will allow those who need to see the movie the most, including middle school and high school students who are bullied, the chance to see a film that could potentially save their lives.
"We've got the MPAA's attention, and with nearly 300,000 signatures and support from celebrities and politicians, there's now a national movement of people calling on the MPAA to drop the 'R' rating for 'Bully,'" Butler said. "As someone who lived through bullying day in and day out in school, including having my finger broken by bullies, this film is too important to silence with an 'R' rating. Everyone should have a chance to see 'Bully.'"
Live signature totals from Katy Butler's campaign ( and comments from signers ) :