Netflix in court battle over ‘lewd’ Cuties film featuring underage girls

Netflix in court battle over ‘lewd’ Cuties film featuring underage girls”

Netflix has said it is standing by the controversial film Cuties after it emerged the streaming giant is facing a criminal charge in Texas over the movie's alleged "lewd" depiction of children.

The French movie is about an 11-year-old Muslim girl who, according to Netflix, "starts to rebel against her conservative family's traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew".

The indictment, handed down last month in Tyler County, could see Netflix receive a fine of up to $20,000 (£15,480).

The Texas grand jury indicted Netflix under a law that forbids "the lewd exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of an unclothed, partially clothed, or clothed child".

"Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children", a spokesperson for the streamer said in a statement via Deadline.

Writer-director Maimouna Doucoure said she considers it to be "a deeply feminist film with an activist message" that is a "mirror of today's society, a mirror sometimes hard to look into".

The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2019, where Doucoure won the world cinema dramatic directing award.

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She described her work as "a deeply feminist film with an activist message" that aims to show how social media pushes girls to mimic sexualised imagery.

She said she chose to explore the topic after being shocked at seeing a group of girls aged around 11 dancing in a sensual way in revealing clothes.

Tyler County District Attorney Lucas Babin said in a press release following the indictment: "The legislators of this state believe promoting certain lewd material of children has destructive consequences".

Netflix had to apologise for the original poster.

According to The Texan, Schaefer had stated that legal experts would find the film to be pornographic in nature, and could cause Netflix to also possibly face prosecution for the "distribution of harmful material".

Texas Senator Ted Cruz previously wrote to the Justice Department urging them to investigate Netflix, while Christine Pelosi - political strategist and daughter of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi - called on the company to remove Cuties from its streaming platform. "It shouldn't be allowed".

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