The giant streaming company Netflix acquired a French film at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. It turned out to be a very bad purchase.
The film is the debut work of a French director who won a best directing award at Sundance. The truth is, the film should never have won any kind of an award or ever have made it to the screen in the first place.
Why? Because it is actually child pornography.
The movie features a main character named Amy, who in a rebellious act against her Muslim parents joins a school dance troupe of 11-year-olds known as “Cuties,” hence the title of the film.
Among other sordid things in the film, young girls dressed in provocative outfits are shown engaging in highly erotic dance moves known as “twerking.”
During the lead-up to its release, the movie’s promotional materials included a poster that displayed the pre-teen dancers in various exploitive poses. Backlash to the movie poster on social media and elsewhere was immediate and explosive.
In August of 2020, Netflix apologized and quickly tried to switch tracks. It came out with a revised film poster that displayed a colorful backdrop and cast members who were more appropriately attired.
Netflix’s apology was largely an admission that the movie poster had crossed the line. Still, the company continued to insist that there was no problem with the film itself.
This would turn out to be a blatant lie.
The Internet Movie Database puts out a guide for parents that warns of sexual scenes in “Cuties,” which, among other things, luridly expose parts of the children’s bodies.
The public has now been left with the impression that a portion of the entertainment industry and news media is attempting to mainstream this form of sexualized content.
The Telegraph has awarded the film four out of five stars. And the New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum is claiming that the movie has been taken “out of context.” In her words, it merely “critiques just what its haters think it supports.”
Meanwhile the film has triggered an online petition as well as a trending Twitter hashtag, #CancelNetflix.
The salacious nature of the movie has prompted a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers to call for the Justice Department to take legal action against Netflix for its streaming of the film. Included in the congressional group are Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii.
“Like any parent, I find @netflix decision to peddle child pornography disgusting. And it’s criminal. @TheJusticeDept should take swift action,” Sen. Cotton tweeted.
Sen. Cruz joined the group with his own letter to Attorney General William Barr, noting that the film “sexualizes young girls, including through dance scenes that simulate sexual activities and a scene exposing a minor’s bare breast.” The Texas senator urged the Justice Department to find out whether the company, its executives, or other involved individuals violated “any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography.”
Sen. Hawley sent a letter to Netflix Co-CEO Reed Hastings requesting the removal of “Cuties” from the on-demand platform. He noted that “depicting children being coached to engage in simulated sexual acts, for cameras both onscreen and off…raises major questions of child safety and exploitation, including the possibility of copycat behavior and exploitation of child actors.”
Rep. Banks told the Daily Caller, “Not only is this movie fodder for pedophiles, it encourages very young girls to defy their parents’ wishes and share pornographic images of themselves with strangers.”
Banks added that the“DOJ should be readying charges against Netflix for distribution of child pornography.”
Rep. Gabbard indicated on Twitter that the film could “whet the appetite of pedophiles & help fuel the child sex trafficking trade.” She additionally posted, “Netflix, you are now complicit. #CancelNetflix.”
There has been a long-held belief in our country that the physical and psychological well-being of our children must be protected. As a result, we have passed laws to shield children from being used to produce sexually provocative materials.
It is important to distinguish, however, the manner in which adult pornography and child pornography have been and still are being treated by the courts.
Adult pornography is generally protected speech, unless it is ruled to be obscene.
Child pornography is in category all its own. The first law to ban commercial child pornography was passed in the late 1970s. Subsequently, in 1982, the Supreme Court held child pornography, even if not deemed to be obscene, is not worthy of First Amendment protection.
During the 1990s, nineteen states had laws on their books prohibiting child pornography possession. Today every state in the country has such a law.
According to law, any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor is child pornography.
“Cuties” fits the description completely. The film features scenes depicting children in ways that are nauseatingly explicit.
Unfortunately, Netflix persists in trying to justify the unjustifiable. The streaming service is attempting to put forth the argument that “Cuties” is somehow a “social commentary” that is just trying to alert people to the issue of the sexualization of young children.
This is duplicitous and only serves to further endanger children while filling the company’s wallet with the filthiest of profit.
“Cuties” remains on the streaming service but is currently accompanied by footage that features the director explaining why it was made.
Netflix is defending the film and urging critics to watch it.
Don’t do it. The viewing of child porn can make one an accomplice.
Netflix is an internet based company. Its leaders know that people who wish to harm children operate online.
In its doubling down on this vile piece of cinema, here’s hoping that Netflix has just cancelled itself.