Hammer Comes Down: Grand Jury Indicts Netflix For “Cuties” Movie

We already know that Netflix is facing an unprecedented exodus of subscribers for putting the French exploitative movie “Cuties” on their platform last month, and we already know that Congress has encouraged the Department of Justice to look into the matter and determine if the streaming giant should face child porn charges for screening the film. But now we’re beyond talk and we’re beyond free market consequences. We’re into an actual criminal indictment, as handed down by a grand jury in Texas.

From The Texan:

A Tyler County Grand Jury has indicted Netflix for promoting the “lewd exhibition” of children.

After speaking out alongside other Texas politicians against the French Netflix film Cuties and asking the state attorney general’s office to investigate the film for violations, Texas Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) tweeted a photo of the indictment this morning.

“Netflix, Inc… knowingly promote[d] 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,” the indictment reads.

The Texas Rangers served the indictment to Netflix.

In remarks, Tyler County Criminal District Attorney Lucas Babin said that the widespread distribution of the movie, which depicts actual 12-year-old girls engaged in suggestive dancing, made the problem even more serious for Netflix.

“As a district attorney, I have to sift through countless cases and make calls every day on how to keep our communities safe,” he said. “After hearing about the movie Cuties and watching it, I knew there was probable cause to believe it was criminal under Section 43.262 of the Texas Penal Code. The legislators of this state believe promoting certain lewd material of children has destructive consequences. If such material is distributed on a grand scale, isn’t the need to prosecute more, not less?”

The defense of this movie has been twofold: A, that it’s a really good movie, and B, that it actually has a message against the sexualization of young girls.

Both can be true, but neither is a true defense of the film. Certainly, the quality of the story and the acting has no bearing on the matter whatsoever. Secondly, even if the film leaves the viewer thinking, Yeah, we gotta do something about young girls growing up too fast…did that message require putting actual young girls in this kind of film? Hollywood has been casting young adults in underage roles for as long as anyone can remember, and that’s the way this movie should have been done as well.

The message, lofty as it might be, does not give the filmmakers – or Netflix – a blank slate to do anything they want.

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