Several lawmakers, including U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., have called for an investigation into Netflix for potentially violating laws prohibiting child pornography after the release of its new film “Cuties” which displays scantily clad 11-year-old girls twerking and dancing in a highly suggestive manner.
“I have asked Texas Attorney General Paxton’s office to investigate the @netflix film ‘Cuties’ for possible violations of child exploitation and child pornography laws,” Texas House of Representatives member Matt Schaefer wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
In a statement to The Daily Citizen, Rep. Schaefer emphasized that someone at Netflix needs to be held accountable for the release of “Cuties.”
“I don’t care what point the filmmaker is trying to make, the video of young girls in ‘Cuties’ is obscene and dangerous,” Rep. Schaefer said. “Someone needs to be in jail. If somehow Texas law doesn’t prohibit the filming and/or distribution of simulated sexual acts by children, we will fight for a law that does. Netflix should be held accountable.”
Additionally, Sen. Hawley floated the idea of a Congressional investigation on his Twitter account on Thursday.
Referring to the film, Sen. Hawley wrote, “This is just unbelievable. @netflix really concerned about child sexual exploitation, I see.” In a subsequent tweet, he added, “Maybe @Netflix would like to come talk this over before Congress.”
On Friday, Sen. Hawley sent a letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings with seven questions for him to answer about the film by September 18. In the meantime, Sen. Hawley requested that Hastings “immediately remove this film” from Netflix.
Among other questions, Sen. Hawley asked Hastings why Netflix designated the film “with a ‘TV-MA’ for ‘language’ without any mention of its graphic sexual content” and whether Netflix took measures to “ensure the protection of the physical, mental, and emotional health of child actors made to perform simulated sex acts.”
The Daily Citizen has reached out to Sen. Hawley’s office for comment.
“Cuties” garnered immediate and immense backlash following its release, with hundreds of thousands of people tweeting “#CancelNetflix.”
Pro-life advocate Lila Rose composed a four-part tweet thread outlining the legal case against Netflix. “For those claiming that the filmmakers did ‘nothing illegal,’ the law & case law is crystal clear here. The filmmakers & Netflix have violated Title 18, section 2256. The Fifth Circuit created the ‘Dost test,’ a 6-factor test to determine if images are child porn,” Rose wrote.
The “Dost test” that Rose refers to lays out six factors to help determine whether an image or video can be classified as child pornography. These include:
- “Whether the focal point of the visual depiction is on the child’s genitalia or pubic area.”
- “Whether the setting of the visual depiction is sexually suggestive, i.e., in a place or pose generally associated with sexual activity.”
- “Whether the child is depicted in an unnatural pose or inappropriate attire, considering the age of the child.”
- “Whether the child is fully or partially clothed, or nude.”
- “Whether the visual depiction suggests sexual coyness or a willingness to engage in sexual activity.”
- “Whether the visual depiction is intended or designed to elicit a sexual response in the viewer.”
As The Daily Citizen previously summarized, the film “shows four 11-year-old girls scantily clad, gyrating and twerking, with several close-up shots of their buttocks. It also shows them grabbing their crotches several times, shaking their buttocks while grabbing their inner thighs, thrusting up and down on the floor and stroking each other’s rear ends.”
It appears that the graphic and highly sexualized content in “Cuties” would meet all six criteria to classify as child pornography.
Section 2256 of Title 18 “defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (someone under 18 years of age).”
A first time offender convicted of producing child pornography can “face fines and a statutory minimum of 15 years to 30 years maximum in prison” and an offender convicted of “transporting child pornography in interstate or foreign commerce… faces fines and a statutory minimum of 5 years to 20 years maximum in prison.”
Following the release of the film, The Daily Citizen reached out to The Justice Department to ask whether it would open an investigation into Netflix, but did not receive a response.
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