Netflix is facing major trouble for hosting “Cuties,” a controversial French-Senegalese film that depicts minor girls emulating extremely sexualised behaviour.
The streaming platform must now answer to a court following an indictment in Texas over allegations that it promotes the sexual exploitation of minors.
Rep. Matt Schaefer shared details of the indictment on his social media.
"Netflix, Inc. indicted by grand jury in Tyler County, Texas for promoting material in Cuties film which depicts lewd exhibition of pubic area of a clothed or partially clothed child who was younger than 18 [years] of age which appeals to the prurient interest in sex," he wrote.
In September, unwitting allies joined forces in condemning the film, with high-profile politicians in both the GOP and DNC lashing out at Netflix for its decision to host and advertise it.
Donald Trump Jr, Ted Cruz, and Tulsi Gabbard were among those who made statements against Cuties upon its release, with Gabbard going so far as to tweet about how the film may fuel the child sex trafficking trade and sharing a very personal experience.
“Child porn ‘Cuties’ will certainly whet the appetite of pedophiles [and] help fuel the child sex trafficking trade. 1 in 4 victims of trafficking are children. It happened to my friend's [13-year-old] daughter. Netflix, you are now complicit,” wrote Gabbard on Twitter.
Shortly after, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz began calling on the Justice Department to investigate Netflix and the filmmakers for child pornography violations.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) also called for the film to be banned, arguing that it promoted the sexual abuse of children.
“We join other Americans in calling on Netflix to remove this disturbing film from its platform. Although the filmmakers behind ‘Cuties’ have argued that the film is meant to criticize the hyper-sexualization of children, a film cannot criticize the abuse of children while abusing children,” said CAIR National executive Director Nihad Awad in a petition to ban Cuties.
The uproar over the film caused #CancelNetflix to trend on Twitter, with many pledging to end their subscriptions to the streaming service. Shortly after outrage reached a boiling point, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz began calling on the Justice Department to investigate Netflix and the filmmakers for child pornography violations.
An early Change.org petition to pull Cuties from the Netflix platform collected over 400,000 signatures.