California-based Netflix is facing a criminal charge in Texas for streaming a French film. The outcry over the sexual nature of Cuties is reaching global proportions.
Netflix was officially charged Sept. 23. The American technology and media service provider was indicted Sept. 23. The streamer was served a summons Oct. 1 stating the company and its co-CEOs, Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos, did knowingly promote visual material which depicts lewd exhibition of a child younger than 18.
Netflix continues to defend its decision to run the film, which it billed a coming-of-age drama. The movie's writer and director, Maïmouna Doucouré, won an award at the Sundance Festival for her debut. She considers the film "social commentary against the sexualization of young children."
The one-page indictment was tweeted Tuesday by Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Texas, who describes himself as a "liberty loving conservative." It continues to get attention. By midday today, Wednesday, the tweet had 6,100 retweets and 11,200 likes.
The indictment was made by the grand jury for Tyler County, Texas, on behalf of the state of Texas. Within two days of the movie airing Sept. 9, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called for a Department of Justice investigation.
"It's frankly disgusting," he said in an interview with Fox News. "They are making money by selling the sexual exploitation of young kids."
In his letter to the Hon. William Barr, U.S. attorney general, Cruz wrote, "The film routinely fetishizes and sexualizes these pre-adolescent girls as they perform dances simulating sexual conduct in revealing clothing, including at least one scene with partial child nudity."
Child pornography under federal law is defined as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (someone under 18 years of age). Visual depictions include photographs, videos, digital or computer-generated images indistinguishable from an actual minor, and images created, adapted or modified, but that appear to depict an identifiable, actual minor.
The movie and its promotional poster are included in the charge. Since launching Cuties, Netflix subscription cancellations have fallen more than five times more than normal.
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