TEXAS, USA — A Texas lawmaker is calling for the Department of Justice to investigate whether Netflix broke any federal laws having to do with production and distribution of child pornography after the release of the controversial film 'Cuties' on the streaming service.
“Cuties,” is one of the recent releases on Netflix that has been met with backlash over its controversial storytelling about the lives of adolescent girls.
The film follows 11-year old Amy, a Senegalese Muslim who goes against her conservative family traditions as her growing curiosity about femininity upsets her mother.
In a letter written to Attorney General Bill Barr, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz wrote, "The film routinely fetishizes and sexualizes these pre-adolescent girls as they perform dances simulating sexual conduct in revealing clothing, including at least one scene with partial child nudity. These scenes in and of themselves are harmful. And it is likely that the filming of this movie created even more explicit and abusive scenes, and that pedophiles across the world in the future will manipulate and imitate this film in abusive ways."
A Sept. 11 news release on the senator's website called Netflix's "promotion and defense of its new pornographic film sexualizing young children" disturbing.
While Cruz's specific complaint about minor nudity was actually reportedly refuted by Netflix, and the IMDb page referencing the apparently non existent scene has now been updated, IMDb still warns of many other pretty concerning scenes involving children.
A Forbes reporter indicated that Cruz's office didn't offer a statement when asked if the Senator or a member of his staff had seen the film himself before writing a letter to the Department of Justice.
The hashtag, #CancelNetfix began trending Thursday as more viewers learned about the film’s depiction of underage girls learning about their sexuality and femininity.
Director Maïmouna Doucouré tells Netflix “Why I Made” that she wanted to do a story about how young girls deal with their self-image in the era of social media.
“Our girls see that the more a woman is overly sexualized on social media, the more she’s successful. And the children just imitate what they see, trying to achieve the same result without understanding the meaning, and yeah, it’s dangerous,” Doucouré said.
In August, Netflix apologized for the "inappropriate artwork that we used" following online backlash for the movie poster that was used to promote the movie.
Netflix is standing by its decision to feature “Cuties,” telling Variety that the film is a social commentary against sexualization of young children.