Harvey Weinstein is the modern master of the Oscar campaign, and also has a gift for turning a problem into a publicity coup, with his specialty being overly strict ratings for his films. His latest battle with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is over a documentary about bullying, and he's vowed to call on three of the most high-profile women in the world to help his cause.
The MPAA recently hit "Bully" with an R rating for "some language." In the mysterious calculus they use to determine what's best for you and your kids, the MPAA has apparently decided that hearing a few four-letter words will cause more harm to your kids than whatever level of physical torment the film might help prevent.
This is from the MPAA's release on the issue, bold ours to highlight how insanely lacking they are in any sense of self-awareness or irony:
Bullying is a serious issue and is a subject that parents should discuss with their children. The MPAA agrees with the Weinstein Company that Bully can serve as a vehicle for such important discussions.
The MPAA also has the responsibility, however, to acknowledge and represent the strong feedback from parents throughout the country who want to be informed about content in movies, including language.
The rating and rating descriptor of ‘some language,’ indicate to parents that this movie contains certain language. With that, some parents may choose to take their kids to this movie and others may not, but it is their choice and not ours to make for them.
Weinstein, had previously released a statement of his own, in which he vowed to call upon some serious heavy hitters to ensure that as many kids as possible see this film:
With school-age children of my own, I know this is a crucial issue and school districts across the U.S. have responded in kind. The Cincinnati school district signed on to bus 40,000 of their students to the movie – but because the appeals board retained the R rating, the school district will have to cancel those plans.
I personally am going to ask celebrities and personalities worldwide, from Lady Gaga (who has a foundation of her own) to the Duchess of Cambridge (who was a victim of bullying and donated wedding proceeds) to First Lady Michelle Obama (whose foundation has reached out to us as well), to take a stand with me in eradicating bullying and getting the youth into see this movie without restriction.
In addition to fire up his Rolodex, Weinstein is also rumored to be considering a "leave of absence" from the MPAA, according to Deadline. Since he's not a member, one assumes that he means that he would stop submitting his films for ratings, which seems unlikely as it would be financial suicide. Too few theaters run his films as it is, if he started offering them up unrated he'd be drowning in red ink.