A grand jury in Texas has indicted Netflix under the state’s child pornography laws for promoting the movie “Cuties,” a French coming-of-age-drama that sparked U.S. outcry over its depictions of underage female sexuality.
The indictment: According to court documents obtained by Fox News on Tuesday, the Tyler County jury returned its decision on Sept. 23.
- The complaint alleges that Netflix is “knowingly” promoting “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.”
- Tyler County District Attorney Lucas Babin said on Tuesday that Texas Rangers had served the streaming giant with a summons on Oct. 1.
The movie: “Cuties” follows Amy, a fictional 11-year-old Senegalese immigrant living in Paris, as she joins a dance clique in defiance of her family’s conservative Muslim values.
- The backlash against the film started before it began streaming on Netflix in September: A promotional poster generated outrage for depicting the teen and pre-teen actresses suggestively.
- Netflix eventually apologized for the “inappropriate artwork” and said in a statement that “It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which premiered at Sundance.”
- After the movie debuted on Netflix, critics excoriated several controversial scenes, including a three-minute sequence in which the girls perform a risqué dance routine that involves simulated sex and touching their genitals over skimpy outfits.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle, including Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Democratic Sen. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, have condemned “Cuties” as exploitative.
The response: Netflix has stood by the film and its director, Maïmouna Doucoure, and continued to do so on Tuesday.
- “Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children,” a spokesperson for Netflix told Fox News, calling the most recent charge against the movie was “without merit.”
- Last month, Doucoure defended “Cuties” against claims it sexualized young girls, telling a Toronto International Film Festival panel: “It’s bold, it’s feminist, but it’s so important and necessary to create debate and try to find solutions, for me as an artist, for politicians and parents.”