A lot of people were outraged over the Netflix film Cuties, which hypersexualized underage actors.
Complex reports that the streaming service is facing criminal charges for exploitation in a coming-of-age film that was heavily slammed by the public.
A grand jury in Tyler, Texas indicted Netflix, and according to legal records obtained by the Texas Tribune, the grand jury said the film “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.”
Netflix defended itself against the claims in a statement to the New York Post, saying, “Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. This charge is without merit, and we stand by the film.”
But, this is a different tune from their August statement, in which the streaming giant apologized for using a Cuties poster that was viewed by some as sexualizing child stars.
Female writer and director Maïmouna Doucouré also defended the platform by saying Netflix’s original artwork for the movie was “not representative of the film and especially its message.” She says she has received death threats over its marketing but assures she is fighting “the same fight.”
“It’s bold, it’s feminist, but it’s so important and necessary to create debate and try to find solutions, for me as an artist, for politicians and parents. It’s a real issue,” Doucouré told The Hollywood Reporter. “The controversy started with that artwork… The most important [thing] is to watch the film and understand we have the same fight.”
The film is based on an 11-year-old Muslim girl who lives in Paris who rebels against her parents by joining a girl dance group. Netflix acquired the rights to the film before the movie received an award for World Cinema Dramatic Directing at Sundance.
However, Lawmakers have called the film “child pornography,” a contrast to its accolades and critical acclaim.