Cinema heavyweight Harvey Weinstein will release the anti-bullying documentary "Bully" without a rating, throwing down the gauntlet to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which slapped it with an "R" rating.
The Weinstein Company (TWC), which produced the Lee Hirsch-directed documentary, appealed numerous times for the "R" rating to be relaxed, but the MPAA refused to do so unless a harrowing seen featuring extreme profanity was cut.
Weinstein, who wants children to be able to view the film without having a parent accompany them, decided to release the film as "unrated," meaning each cinema will be able to decide for itself who is allowed to view it.
TWC marketing president Stephen Bruno said in a statement: "The kids and families in this film are true heroes, and we believe theater owners everywhere will step up and do what's right for the benefit of all of the children out there who have been bullied or may have otherwise become bullies themselves."
Lawyer David Boies and former solicitor general Ted Olson had mulled legal action against the MPAA over the rating, the New York Post reported.
"You can kill kids ... You can torture them and still get a 'PG-13,'" Boies said. "But if they say a couple of bad words, you blame them."
During the battle to relax the film's rating, the likes of Ellen DeGeneres and Justin Bieber supported Weinstein's efforts, while Michigan teen Katy Butler gained about 500,000 signatures on a petition that was presented to the MPAA.
The MPAA previously said, "There is a misconception about the 'R' [for] this film ... Many other 'R'-rated movies on important topics, such as 'Schindler's List,' have been screened in schools and viewed by children accompanied by their parents."