Netflix Indicted on Child Pornography Charges Over 'Cuties' Film
Texas grand jury indicts popular streaming service for 'lewd visual material'
A Texas grand jury has indicted streaming service Netflix on child pornography charges for allegedly disseminating “lewd visual material” with its film “Cuties,” according to reports.
The controversial movie triggered outrage last month for its depiction of pre-pubescent girls in sexually provocative situations.
Texas Republican State Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-TX) tweeted out an image of the indictment.
The document alleges that Netflix did “knowingly promote visual material which depicts the lewd exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a clothed or partially clothed child who was younger than 18 years of age at the time the visual material was created, which appeals to the prurient interest in sex, and has no serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value[.]”
Netflix has been in hot water for broadcasting the French-Senegalese movie Cuties, which drew scorn on social media.
Even after parents and viewers complained about the decision to stream the movie—full of scantily clad, suggestively dancing children—the company still aired it.
“Netflix, Inc. indicted by grand jury in Tyler Co., Tx for promoting material in Cuties film which depicts lewd exhibition of pubic area of a clothed or partially clothed child who was younger than 18 yrs of age which appeals to the prurient interest in sex #Cuties #txlege,” State Rep. Schaefer said on Twitter.
Netflix, Inc. indicted by grand jury in Tyler Co., Tx for promoting material in Cuties film which depicts lewd exhibition of pubic area of a clothed or partially clothed child who was younger than 18 yrs of age which appeals to the prurient interest in sex #Cuties #txlege pic.twitter.com/UJ1hY8XJ2l— Matt Schaefer (@RepMattSchaefer) October 6, 2020
According to The Washington Times, the indictment was handed down on September 23 but only revealed Tuesday.
The indictment goes on to note, relevant to the legal definitions of pornography, that the visual material in “Cuties” appeals "to the prurient interest in sex, and has no serious, literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”
“Cuties,” which won a prize at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in February, was put online to stream into America’s homes by Netflix on Sept. 9.
The French movie, which was called “Mignonnes” in its native land, depicts a “Mean Girls”-type clique of 11-year-olds, one of the activities of which is a dance troupe.
The climactic scene is a contest for which the protagonist, a Senegalese immigrant, devises a routine that includes group twerks, mouth gestures, ground humping, and hip grinding.
Other scenes show them rehearsing the numbers and other sexualized moves that the girls are sometimes depicted as only half-understanding.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) also urged the Department of Justice to get involved last month, writing to U.S. Attorney General William Barr: “Following [Netflix]’s disturbing promotion of ‘Cuties,’ I sent a letter calling on [DOJ] to investigate whether Netflix, its executives, or the filmmakers violated any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography.”
Following @netflix’s disturbing promotion of “Cuties,” I sent a letter calling on @TheJusticeDept to investigate whether Netflix, its executives, or the filmmakers violated any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography. pic.twitter.com/P7wLXixU6X— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) September 12, 2020
Other lawmakers joining Cruz and Banks included Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Josh Hawley (R-MO), as well as Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI).
Gabbard explained her opposition to the film with a personal anecdote: “[Netflix] child porn ‘Cuties’ will certainly whet the appetite of pedophiles & help fuel the child sex trafficking trade.
"1 in 4 victims of trafficking are children.
"It happened to my friend’s 13 year old daughter.
"Netflix, you are now complicit. #CancelNetflix.”
Netflix told the New York Post in a Tuesday statement that it stood by the film.
"‘Cuties’ is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children,” Netflix said.
"This charge is without merit and we stand by the film."