New family film Show Dogs is being re-edited following outrage from an advocacy group that claimed a scene suggested sexual abuse.
Global Road Entertainment will remove two whole scenes from the PG-rated film that are said to have normalised “unwanted genital touching” to its young audience.
In a statement, the studio said: “Responding to concerns raised by moviegoers and some specific organisations, Global Road Entertainment has decided to remove two scenes from the film Show Dogs that some have deemed not appropriate for children. The company takes these matters very seriously and remains committed to providing quality entertainment for the intended audiences based on the film's rating.
“We apologise to anybody who feels the original version of Show Dogs sent an inappropriate message.”
The film, which stars Will Arnett and features the voice work of Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, follows a Rottweiler who attempts to infiltrate the world of show dogs. The scene in question shows a canine's private parts being man-handled and, despite feeling uncomfortable and wanting it to stop, is “told to go to a zen place" before advancing to the next round of the competition for complying.
An anti-pornography advocacy group named The National Centre on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), argued the scenes sent a “troubling message that grooms children for sexual abuse” with its executive director Dawn Hawkins stating: “Disturbingly, these are similar tactics child abusers use when grooming children — telling them to pretend they are somewhere else, and that they will get a reward for withstanding their discomfort.
Hawkins continued: “Children's movies must be held to a higher standard, and must teach children bodily autonomy, the ability to say 'no' and safety, not confusing messages endorsing unwanted genital touching.”
The film, which features the voice work of Ludacris and Natasha Lyonne, follows a Rottweiler police canine who attempts to infiltrate the world of show dogs
CNN reports that Max Botkin, one of the film's two credited writers, denied penning the scene attributing blame to 12 of its uncredited writers.
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“I absolutely condemn any suggestion or act of non-consensual touching in any form, as well as disassociation as a coping mechanism for abuse of any kind,” he said in a statement. “I understand and empathise with the parents' and groups' concerns regarding the message the movie may impart.”
The new version of Show Dogs - which is released in the UK on Friday (25 May) - will be shown worldwide this weekend.
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