Controversial 'Bully' movie to debut in Seattle Friday



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Posted on April 12, 2012 at 6:35 AM

Updated Thursday, Apr 12 at 7:12 PM

SEATTLE -- Its nationwide release hasn’t even happened yet, and already a new documentary which tackles the issue of bullying is stirring up controversy.

"Bully," which opens on Friday in Seattle, follows five kids and families through a year of school and gives viewers an insight into how they cope with bullying.

The film has generated critiism for its sensationalism of the issue and for its sponsor, Microsoft.

Rosetta Lee, teacher at the Seattle Girls School and nationally renowned bullying expert, said while it's good the movie is starting a national conversation, it’s important not to let the issue become diluted in all the hype.

“We can’t just give it one quick look,” said Lee. “The conversation needs to go into a place of school wide culture. Bullying is the soil that we create. Either we let it blossom or not grow.”              

The film was originally rated "R," but the Weinstein Company and the film’s director fought to make it PG-13 to allow for a larger viewing audience. A new cut of the Lee Hirsch film makes some concessions to the Motion Picture Association of America by removing three obscenities.

Microsoft is taking an active role in promoting the film by using the Bing search engine for a massive TV and social media campaign. The tech giant’s involvement has many skeptical that it is only getting involved to profit off of the sensitive issue of Bullying.

“We weren’t involved in the ratings issue. We were on board before the rating period,” says Lisa Gurry, senior director at Bing. “The film really speaks to kids and we like the opportunity to have a platform to support anti-bullying.”

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