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Republican lawmakers urge DOJ to investigate Netflix for ‘distribution of child porn’ in ‘Cuties’

Republican lawmakers urge DOJ to investigate Netflix for ‘distribution of child porn’ in ‘Cuties’

Characters from the controversial film, "Cuties." | Netflix

Sen. Ted Cruz has joined other Republicans in Congress in urging the Department of Justice to investigate Netflix to find out whether it violated any federal laws by distributing the French film “Cuties,” that many say sexualizes underage girls and promotes the normalization of pedophilia.

The film “sexualizes young girls, including through dance scenes that simulate sexual activities and a scene exposing a minor’s bare breast,” notes the Texas Republican in his letter to Attorney General Bill Barr on Friday.

Cruz has urged the Department of Justice to investigate the production and distribution of this film “to determine whether Netflix, its executives or the individuals involved in the filming and production of ‘Cuties’ violated any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography.”

The senator further warned, " ... it is likely that the filming of this movie created even more explicit and abusive scenes, and that pedophiles across the world in the future will manipulate and imitate this film in abusive ways."

The DOJ, Cruz added, “has a significant role in preventing the sexual abuse of children. The Department enforces federal criminal law making it a serious crime to produce or distribute material involving the sexual exploitation of minors, including the filming of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.”

Also on Friday, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, also demanded an investigation by the DOJ.

“There’s no excuse for the sexualization of children, and Netflix’s decision to promote the film ‘Cuties’ is disgusting at best and a serious crime at worst,” Cotton told the Daily Caller. “I urge the Department of Justice to take action against Netflix for their role in pushing explicit depictions of children into American homes.”

Banks was quoted as saying: “As a father of young daughters, I find it sickening. Not only is this movie fodder for pedophiles, it encourages very young girls to defy their parents’ wishes and share pornographic images of themselves with strangers. Our culture has come a long way in recent years, recognizing the power of television, movies and magazines to affect young girls.”

On Saturday, Banks wrote on Twitter: “Glad to join [Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.,] in calling on the DOJ to bring charges against Netflix for distribution of child pornography.”

A Netflix spokesperson has defended the film.

“Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying. “It’s an award winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up – and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”

In response, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., suggested Netflix executives testify in front of the U.S. Senate. “Maybe @Netflix would like to come talk this over before Congress,” Hawley wrote on Twitter Thursday.

Aja Romano, who's on the culture staff at the far-left site Vox, said last week that she considered the movie “a wonderful, poignant, challenging and nuanced coming-of-age film, smartly crafted by a wonderful director” and dismissed the controversy around it as “propaganda fueled by QAnon types and anti-Semites.”

“I’m frankly delighted by a bunch of bigots settling in with pitchforks to flame the pedophile movie and discovering this lovely subtle story about girls battling fraught gender roles,” she added.

Many Twitter users have likened the film to child porn and said they would no longer subscribe to the online streaming service and urged others to do likewise, accompanied by a #cancelnetflix hashtag, which was the top trending topic on social media last week.

Last month, thousands of people urged Netflix to pull the film. It didn't pull the film and only apologized for the artwork it used to promote the movie.  

“We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties. It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which won an award at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description,” Netflix said in a statement posted on Twitter last month.

The apology came after more than 150,000 people signed a change.org petition, calling on Netflix to remove the film.

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