Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 21, 2014

Fighting for F-Bombs

Fighting for F Bombs

Rep. Mike Honda and other lawmakers have called for a less restrictive rating for a documentary on bullying. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers has joined the fight to allow more kids to see “Bully,” a new documentary about student-on-student abuse that’s been flagged for foul language by the Motion Picture Association of America.

The MPAA branded the film with an R rating, but online petitioners, the film’s producers and now Congress are arguing that a PG-13 rating would enable it to reach a broader audience.

“It has to be seen by young people … so the powerful messages get out,” said a spokesman for Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif)., author of a letter being prepared for delivery to the MPAA.

Two dozen other Members — Rep. Tome Cole (R-Okla.) has aligned himself with several Democrats — joined Honda in asking the MPAA to reconsider its adult-only restriction.

“He was an educator for 30 years … so he’s seen it firsthand,” a Honda aide said of the former teacher/principal/school board member’s passion for protecting school-age youth.

Honda has not, however, seen the movie, though he’s scheduled for a viewing Monday.

An MPAA spokesman said his group appreciates all the excitement surrounding the film — “There has been discussion about maximizing the viewership,” he said — but signaled that a ratings downgrade was doubtful.

“It could be changed if the filmmakers choose to submit a new version of the film,” said Howard Gantman of the MPAA.

Short of that, families might have to handle the issue themselves.

“Kids will be able to see it. They’ll need to see with their parents,” Gantman said. “But that’s the dialogue that should be happening.”

You’re d— right.

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