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April 6, 2012


PTC Calls Out MPAA for ‘Bully’ Special Treatment

Says the Entire MPAA Ratings System Needs Immediate Reform

LOS ANGELES (April 6, 2012) – Today, the Parents Television Council is calling out the MPAA for its arbitrary and destructive decision to change the content rating for the documentary ‘Bully’ to a PG-13 rating despite the unprecedented inclusion of multiple instances of the harshest profanity. PTC also called for immediate reform of the ratings system to allow greater input from the public rather than just Hollywood insiders.

“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. Moving the yardstick from one ‘f-bomb’ to three essentially removes the yardstick altogether,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

“The unprecedented inclusion of numerous instances of the harshest profanity in a PG-13 film undermines the MPAA’s sole responsibility – to give accurate information to parents.  For a film marketed to 13-year old children, the use of that word more than zero times should result in an R rating and only an R rating.

“While the message of ‘Bully’ is noble, the producers’ motivation for a PG-13 rating is based solely on profit, not on any putative desire to help children.  If Harvey Weinstein truly held the interests of a teenage audience at heart and not his bottom line, he would have waived all ticket charges for the children he says he is helping.

“We have stated repeatedly that ‘Bully’ could reach its desired teenage audience by dubbing out the harshest profanity, thereby adhering to the MPAA guidelines for younger audiences.  But the producers refused, saying that the removal of any profanity ruined the sanctity of their film.  Yet now, in order to generate more box office revenue, they have reversed themselves – just not to MPAA standards. 

“This entire ratings controversy is nothing but a Trojan Horse for the longtime battle Mr. Weinstein has been waging against a content rating system that – in order to function properly – must be accurate, consistent, transparent and accountable.  That system has been weakened further by the appearance of special treatment as a result of the long-term relationship between Mr. Weinstein and MPAA president Christopher Dodd. 

“We call on the MPAA to reform their content rating system so it reflects the sense of the nation and not just the sense of Hollywood powerbrokers,” concluded Winter.

To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, please contact Megan Franko at (703) 859-5054 or Liz Krieger at (703) 683-5004 ext. 120.

The Parents Television Council™ (www.parentstv.org®) is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media. This national grassroots organization has more than 1.3 million members across the United States, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children. The PTC also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices for their own families.





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