Texas State Rep. Matt Schaefer, a Statesmen Academy alumnus, made national news Tuesday when he tweeted a picture of the indictment of Netflix, Inc. by the District Court of Tyler County Texas.
A grand jury in Tyler County indicted the streaming service for showing “Cuties” which includes “visual material which depicts the lewd exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a clothed or partially clothed child younger than 18 years of age… which appeals to the prurient interest of sex,” according to the document.
As we shared with you last month, the new French film broadcast by Netflix centers on a group of 11-year old girls in a dance troupe called “Cuties.” But their dance routines are anything but cute – they include seductive poses, twerking, and even simulating sexual acts.
The movie is pornographic and clearly meets the legal definition of child pornography in federal law: “any visual depiction, including any photograph, film, video… where the production of such visual depiction involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.” (18 U.S.C. 2256) *
Despite a reported eighty-fold increase in Netflix cancellations since “Cuties” was released, and the District Court indictment, the company continues to defend the film. “’Cuties’ is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. This charge is without merit and we stand by the film,” Netflix said in a statement yesterday.
Unbelievable! Quite the opposite of Netflix’s claim – we believe firmly that “Cuties” is a film which sexualizes young children. For that reason, we celebrate the grand jury indictment in Texas while waiting expectantly for the U.S. Department of Justice to take action.
Just this Monday, Family Policy Alliance sent the petition signed by more than 17,500 of you to Attorney General William Barr calling on the DOJ to enforce federal obscenity law – including laws against child pornography. It is imperative and urgent that the federal government investigate and prosecute Netflix for distributing the pornographic film “Cuties.”
Many Members of Congress echo this sentiment, including Statesmen Academy alumnus Rep. Jim Banks (IN-03), who wrote a letter to the DOJ in September calling on the Attorney General to bring charges against Netflix. “’Cuties’ is child porn and unlike certain media apologists, I and the vast majority of Americans are disgusted by that, which is why a grand jury indicted Netflix. I’d still like to see the DOJ get involved. Netflix broke federal law,” Banks said.
If you are one of the 17,500 people who signed our petition to Attorney General Barr, thank you! We pray that its delivery on Monday, along with news of the Texas court indictment on Tuesday, will encourage the Department of Justice to act now – before more children fall prey to the porn industry.
A new hashtag is trending on Twitter: #CancelNetflix. Thousands of Americans are canceling their Netflix subscriptions and taking to social media to denounce the company’s broadcasting of Cuties – a new French film that centers on a group of 11-year old Parisian girls in a hyper-sexualized dance troupe.
Despite Netflix’s original poster ad for the film depicting half-clothed adolescent girls in seductive positions, the streaming service now describes the film innocently enough: “Eleven-year-old Amy starts to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew.”
But the reality – from the clip I viewed as well reviews from those who have seen the film in its entirety – is completely different. As Rod Dreher at The American Conservative stated, “[Cuties] centers on the grotesque sexualization of minor girls” and “is a deeply dishonest film that exploits its young cast nauseatingly.”
The black and white of it is that the film stars scantily clad pre-teens who perform stripper-like dance routines, including twerking, suggestively sucking their fingers, and simulating sexual acts. The film also includes clips of the girls watching hardcore porn on their smartphones.
It is truly disgusting and deeply disturbing. As the mother of an 11-year old girl and her two younger sisters, I am outraged that Netflix would air such a film, which is distasteful at best and criminal at worst. Isn’t Netflix run by adults? Some of whom have young children? All of whom should care about objectifying adolescent girls and sexualizing children?
Astonishingly, Netflix continues to defend the movie amid severe backlash and numerous calls to #CancelNetflix. According to a Netflix spokesperson, Cuties is a “powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up – and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”
NO THANKS, Netflix!
I won’t be watching this garbage, but more importantly, I don’t want my daughters watching this pornographic film, nor the pedophiles who prey on young girls.
Which begs the question – who, exactly, is Netflix’s target audience here?
I shudder to think it is adolescent girls and pedophiles – yet those are the populations most likely to be interested in a movie about adolescent girls who perform sexually explicit dance routines with close-up shots of their pelvic areas, behinds and in one shot – a bare breast.
The images and dancing in Cuties are nothing less than obscene and pornographic.
Any business that peddles child pornography and any film producer that promotes the sexualization of children should be held accountable.
Thankfully, some in Washington agree and they are doing something about it. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has written to Netflix and urged them to take down Cuties immediately. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has called on the Department of Justice to investigate whether the film violates federal law, while Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) have asked the DOJ to take swift action and prosecute Netflix for the distribution of child pornography. These Members of Congress and others, including Democrat Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), are speaking boldly in defense of children.
Gabbard tweeted “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.”
And she’s exactly right. Pornography increases the demand for sex trafficking and is used to groom trafficking victims. Another word for “trafficking” is “slavery.” Films like Cuties fuel modern-day child sex slavery. Pornography also steals our children’s innocence, increases violence against women, causes psychological addiction and destroys families.
The movement to #CancelNetflix is not about one distasteful, offensive film. The Cuties backlash is about a lot of sensible Americans saying “Enough is enough. Stop the sexualization of our children and the infiltration of pornography into our culture and homes.”
How do we do that?
The good news is that we don’t need new laws to prevent images like those seen in Cuties appearing in our living rooms. The bad news is that federal obscenity laws are not being readily enforced.
For several months, Family Policy Alliance has collected signatures on a petition to Attorney General William Barr asking him to declare obscenity prosecution a national priority at the Department of Justice and to vigorously enforce current obscenity laws, including laws against child pornography.
We will soon deliver this petition to the Department of Justice. If you haven’t done so already, please take a moment to sign the petition today.
You may also consider canceling your Netflix subscription or joining the movement on social media to call Netflix to account and urge the company to reverse course on peddling child pornography.
For children and families,
Director, External Relations