Netflix’s recent film "Cuties" featuring adolescent girls in revealing outfits performing sexualized dance moves did not sit well with right-minded individuals. Some, like actress Patricia Heaton, described the movie as a "pedophile’s dream." Indeed, many who did watch the movie said it was worse than the clips and promotional material made it seem (which was already really bad).
Netflix defended the film throughout the saga and said it was meant as a "social commentary against the sexualization of young children," which, for obvious reasons, didn’t pass the smell test because you don’t exploit children in the process of making that point.
Pundits, the political class, and many in between called for investigations and the outright jailing of Netflix executives over the film.
This week, things took a step in the right direction after the streaming giant was indicted by a grand jury in Texas for its promotion of 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, and has no serious, literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."
Netflix, Inc. indicted by grand jury in Tyler Co., Tx 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 yrs of age which appeals to the prurient interest in sex #Cuties #txlege pic.twitter.com/UJ1hY8XJ2l— Matt Schaefer (@RepMattSchaefer) October 6, 2020
Tyler County District Attorney Lucas Babin said after seeing the film, he "knew there was probable cause to believe it was criminal."
"The legislators of this state believe promoting certain lewd material of children has destructive consequences," Babin said. "If such material is distributed on a grand scale, isn’t the need to prosecute more, not less?"
He continued: "A grand jury found probable cause for this felony, and my job is to uphold the laws of this State and see that justice is done."
The Parents Television Council praised the move.
"We applaud the bold action to investigate Netflix for its sexualized depiction of 11-year-old girls in the film 'Cuties.' The admirable intention of the film to raise awareness of the pressure girls have in today’s sexualized culture is entirely obviated by the sexualization and exploitation depicted in the film. 'Cuties' is only the latest example of a host of programs that should be scrutinized because they sexually exploit children. It is time for Netflix to be held to account for enabling these kinds of programs to exist on its platform," PTC President Tim Winter said in a statement.
Netflix pushed back and said the "charge is without merit and we stand by the film."