Netflix is facing legal disputes over the broadcast of a movie that critics claim could attract pedophiles.
A Tyler County, Texas grand jury has charged Netflix with "promoting lewd visuals depicting a child" in connection with its new movie, Cuties. She accused the streaming platform of "addressing intrusive interest in sex" and suggested, "No literary, artistic, political or scientific merit," the indictment reads.
Lucas Babin, a criminal defense attorney, said, “Legislators in this state believe that promoting certain lewd materials from children has destructive consequences. If such material is widely disseminated, is there no need to prosecute more or less? A grand jury in Tyler County identified a possible cause for this crime, and my job is to obey the laws of that state and see that justice is done. "
Netflix replied, “Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. This charge is unfounded and we stand by the film. "
Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash
First debuted in France under the French title Mignonnes, Cuties revolves around an 11-year-old girl named Amy who rebels against her Senegalese Muslim family and is tied up by one of her classmates who leads a dance team that performs suggestive moves in revealing outfits . According to the film's crew, it shows a teenage girl's difficulty seeing idealistic images on the internet that affect the girl's self-esteem, body image, and sexuality. A Netflix spokesperson called the film a "powerful story of the pressures young girls face on social media and society in general," and encouraged anyone with a strong interest in these topics to watch it.
At the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020, Cuties received positive reviews from film critics and director Maïmouna Doucouré even received an award. Netflix soon acquired the rights to the film and was released internationally in September. The platform's advertising poster for the film featured a sexually suggestive image of a young girl and received negative feedback even before its release. Netflix ultimately apologized for its marketing decision and updated the image just in time for it to go live.
Doucouré said in a September media interview that she has "received several death threats related to the incident" and that Ted Sarandos, co-CEO of Netflix, "called her directly to apologize". Critical backlash ultimately led to the creation of the hashtag campaign #CancelNetflix on Twitter, in which high-profile politicians such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Hawaii MP Tulsi Gabbard claimed the film had sexualized young girls.
"I was hoping, of course, that this would have sparked a debate about the hypersexualization of young people," Doucouré said. "But never in my dreams would I have imagined that my point of view would be interpreted so wrongly." The director claims that Amy's story is actually based on her own experiences. She added, “My aesthetic point of view is to hold a mirror in front of the world so that as adults we can see what we have created, what our responsibility is to our children, how we raised them. ”
The Texas Grand Jury advises Netflix that it allegedly promoted lewd material about the movie Cuties.
Netflix charged by Texas Grand Jury for "lewd" portrayal of children in "Cuties"