The “Bully” Controversy


A still from BULLY (Weinstein Co.)

If you haven’t heard about the controversy surrounding the upcoming film, BULLY, you’ve been under a rock.  Last week its studio, the Weinstein Co., lost its appeal to overturn the movie’s R rating, falling one vote short of the 2/3 requirement.  Harvey Weinstein was so upset that he claimed he was considering taking a “leave of absence” from submitting his films to the MPAA for ratings. That earned a fresh wave of publicity for the film, as well as a significant spike in conversation around the issue of bullying and a massive 100x increase in conversation about the film on Twitter.  Weinstein wants as many teenagers and kids to see this film since bullying is such an important issue so it can help solve the problem.

Directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, BULLY is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary.  The film follows five kids and families over the course of a school year. Stories include two families who have lost children to suicide and a mother awaiting the fate of her 14-year-old daughter who has been incarcerated after bringing a gun on her school bus. With an intimate glimpse into homes, classrooms, cafeterias and principals’ offices, the film offers insight into the often cruel world of the lives of bullied children. As teachers, administrators, kids and parents struggle to find answers, BULLY examines the dire consequences of bullying through the testimony of strong and courageous youth. Through the power of their stories, the film aims to be a catalyst for change in the way we deal with bullying as parents, teachers, children and society as a whole.

  • The Promoted Tweets from @BullyMovie, the film’s Twitter account, were seen by millions of users around the country, who were highly engaged with the topic:
  • The #BullyMovie campaign had an average engagement rate of more than 36%, meaning that one out of every three people that saw one of the Promoted Tweets took action in some way – by retweeting, replying to or favoriting the message, or clicking through to watch the trailer or sign a petition to change the film’s rating. This far surpassed the average 3-5% engagement rate for Promoted Tweets.
  • Twitter users retweeted messages from the #BullyMovie campaign thousands of times, and mentioned the film in more than 7,800 Tweets.
  • The best performing Tweet –“Watch the @bullymovie trailer and join the fight to STOP BULLYING in schools: chn.ge/Afgpmt VIDEO: bit.ly/znJ8C0” – attracted over 17K clicks and 1,190 retweets and an engagement rate of 37.5%.
  • Views of the BULLY trailer jumped by nearly 10x to 213,000 views.

As the success of the #BullyMovie Twitter campaign exemplifies, the support for this cause is growing every day in a very grass roots way. A Change.org petition, started last week by Michigan high school student Katy Butler, urges the MPAA to change the rating on BULLY from R to its deserved PG-13 rating. Just yesterday, the petition received an exponentially large amount of signatures – 200,000!

I personally applaud Weinstein and Butler and I urge you to sign the petition.  Hopefully, more people will get to see BULLY than the MPAA has plans for.

Check out the trailer here:

Subscribe to Our Blog Updates!

Subscribe to Our Free Email Updates!

Share this article!


  1. While I don’t believe that every mean act should be classified as bullying, when a child is repeatedly targeted, adults must be the role models and say NO and act to make it so. Some children can handle torment, others can not. It’s *not* up to us to decide who belongs in which category. It must all be addressed.

    This is a fantastic post, and the trailer is incredibly moving.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.