Saying that the Sundance award-winning film Cuties meets the definition of child pornography, almost three dozen Republican members of Congress led by Rep. Jim Banks (Ind.) have called on Attorney General Bill Barr to prosecute Netflix for distributing it.
"The vast majority of Americans agree with me, which is why Netflix’s cancellation rate has skyrocketed,” said Rep Banks. “Americans are shocked to see this foisted on our children and so are my 33 Republican colleagues who’ve signed this letter. But no Democrats. They seem more inclined to defend Cuties than criticize it. That raises some alarm bells.”
Netflix, which has caught some flak for a poster it initially used to promote the movie--it has since apologized for that--defends the film.
“Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children,” Netflix said in a statement last week. “It’s an award-winning film and 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.”
The Republicans argue that the message of the movie isn't the issue. "Cuties defenders claim that the film intends to criticize the objectification of young girls. The reality is that the film does depict minors engaged in sexually explicit acts. It's visual fodder for pedophiles and its message is beside the point," they told Barr.
Looking to capitalize on the attention to Cuties, the Parents Television Council has called on Congress to convene hearings on what it said is the entertainment industry's "troubling trend" of sexualizing children.
PTC has begun shifting its critical gaze toward streaming platforms.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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