Netflix faces criminal charges in Texas over Cuties film

Streaming giant says charges ‘without merit’ and insists it stands by movie

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Wednesday 07 October 2020 16:00 BST
Cuties trailer

Netflix faces criminal charges over Cuties amid claims the movie sexually exploits its young actresses.

The streaming giant was indicted by a grand jury in Tyler County, Texas, according to state lawmaker Matt Schaefer who posted court papers on Twitter.

The indictment states that Netflix has been charged with “promoting material in Cuties film which depicts lewd exhibition of pubic area of a clothed or partially clothed child who was younger than 18 yrs of age which appeals to the prurient interest in sex”.

The indictment also states that the movie did not hold any “literary, artistic, political or scientific value”.

Netflix describes the movie as being about 11-year-old Senegalese immigrant named Amy, played by Fathia Youssouf, who lives with her strict Muslim family in a poor neighbourhood of Paris.

Amy becomes “fascinated with a clique of rebellious girls at her middle school who choreograph dance routines and wear crop tops and heels. They talk about Kim Kardashian and diets, practise ‘twerking' and giggle about boys and sex-related things that they don't yet understand.”

Last month Senator Ted Cruz urged attorney general Bill Barr to investigate the movie, writing that it “sexualises young girls, through dance scenes simulating sexual activities, including one scene exposing a minor's chest.”

“Following Netflix's disturbing promotion of Cuties I sent a letter calling on the DOJ to investigate whether Netflix, its executives, or the filmmakers violated any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography," Mr Cruz wrote.

Mr Cruz encouraged the Department of Justice to investigate the production and distribution of Cuties, including anyone involved.

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The Tyler County District Attorney’s Office has not commented on the indictment.

Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualisation of young children. This charge is without merit and we stand by the film,” Netflix said in a statement.

Netflix was criticised in August for the US marketing poster for the movie, which featured young girls in revealing two piece dance costumes.

The company later apologised for the poster and admitted on Twitter that it was “not OK.”

The French poster for the movie features young girls holding shopping bags.

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