After months of boycotts, public outrage, phone calls, and petitions, Netflix is finally facing legal action for the release of their new film “cuties.” The film features preteen girls involved in a dance crew talking about and performing in lewd and inappropriately mature ways. This has understandably enraged people across the country who feel this is a gross violation on children, raising concerns that the movie should be considered the distribution of child pornography and a form of child exploitation.
As of September 23rd, Tyler County, Texas has filed a grand jury indictment citing the “promotion of lewd visual material depicting a child” as the reason (NBC news). According to NBC news and the language put forth by the indictment “Netflix promoted, disturbed, and exhibited material which ‘depicts the lewd exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of clothed or partially clothed child who was younger than 18 years of age.’” NBC news and the indictment also indicate that the material served no other value than for sexual interest.
It seems nary a day goes by that there is not breaking news of children being found and rescued from sex trafficking. This begs the question of why Netflix thinks distributing content of this nature is a healthy practice? Many people wonder if this material will encourage adults to engage in sex with minors, encourage further consumption of child pornography, and if it merely caters to the appetites of those with deviant forms of sexual addictions?
Netflix has been facing criticism of the film for the past several months, beginning back in August when an advertisement poster was released featuring scantily clad young girls. Yet, they have not taken action to pull the film from their streaming service. Netflix has merely made a few weak attempts to appease the public by issuing an apology on their Twitter account. The apology fell flat when instead of removing the film entirely they merely rebranded it with a different picture and description.
Parents across the US are striking back, canceling the streaming service, signing petitions, and like Texas calling for legal action. How long will it be until Netflix begins to listen to their viewers? At latest the company continues in defense of the vile content, trying to convince the public to look beyond the apparent sexualization and into the deeper message of the film.
This is not the first time in recent years that Netflix has come under attack for releasing controversial and offensive material and it appears it won’t be the last.