“On the Holmes Front,” with Frank Holmes
Netflix has faced a national backlash, a boycott, and mass cancellations for steaming the movie Cuties, the French movie that features what critics — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s own daughter — call softcore child porn.
Now, it may be finally facing legal justice.
A Texas grand jury has indicted the online streaming service over the movie and charged it with Possession or Promotion of Lewd Visual Material Depicting Child.
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Cuties—which was shot in France under the title Migonnes—features 11-year-old girls twerking, performing a highly sexualized dance onstage in skimpy clothing, and one 11-year-old who exposes her breast after she sees a pop culture figure do so in a video.
One of the comments on the movie database IMDB said the movie could be “lawfully defined as pedophilia,” but the comment was later scrubbed.
Tyler County District Attorney Lucas Babin took it to heart. He watched Cuties—something we at The Horn News don’t recommend—and said he instantly “knew there was probable cause to believe it was criminal.”
The jury agreed on September 23 and slapped Netflix, Inc. with charges.
A jury of their peers charged Netflix with violating Texas Penal Code 43.262, which makes it illegal to possess, view, or promote material that “depicts the lewd exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of an unclothed, partially clothed, or clothed child who is younger than 18 years of age at the time the visual material was created” and that “appeals to the prurient interest in sex.”
But if convicted, the powers that be at Netflix could face a maximum of two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. And the felony conviction would remain on their record for life.
The grand jury put Netflix on notice that it could face Texas-style justice by having the indictment hand-delivered to the corporate office by Texas Rangers.
“The legislators of this state believe promoting certain lewd material of children has destructive consequences,” said Babin. “If such material is distributed on a grand scale, isn’t the need to prosecute more, not less?”
But for the charges to stick, jurors will have to prove the movie has “no serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” The movie’s defenders have been praising its “social commentary,” perhaps in anticipation of criminal charges.
One reviewer said, “For every dance scene that may make you want to avert your eyes, there are other uncomplicated moments of childhood playtime like Amy and Angelica talking with their mouths full of gummy bears or four of the girls running with shopping bags throwing confetti.”
But doesn’t their youthful innocence make the movie’s sexualization of young girls that much more revolting? And wouldn’t that encourage child molesters to sexualize girls during “uncomplicated moments of childhood playtime”?
One thing is sure: Netflix has defended and promoted the movie despite a national boycott and online petitions to drop the show from its streaming platform. It seems really invested in promoting this story—and its visuals.
At first, Netflix apologized for its marketing of the movie and said the poster didn’t accurately present the movie’s content.
But the public knew that was a lie the minute online video excerpts showed an 11-year-old Senegalese immigrant joining a dance troop—thrusting their barely clothed genitals into the camera, nibbling their fingers in a sensualized way, and simulating a sexual position onstage during a “dance performance.”
Now, Netflix has shifted again and said the movie has strong sexual content showing the exploitation of a young girl—to fight the exploitation of young girls.
“Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children,” a Netflix spokesperson said in response.
The movie is “a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up,” the spokesperson said. “We’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”
The company also defended the movie on the grounds that “it’s an award-winning film”—as if Hollywood would never reward pedophiles.
It’s true that Cuties played at the Sundance Film Festival. It’s also true that the festival’s co-founder, Sterling Van Wagenen, has been convicted of molesting an underage girl and accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy.
And 43 years after Roman Polanski fled the United States over statutory rape charges, he received a standing ovation at the Oscars in 2003, where he won Best Director.
Hollywood isn’t exactly known as an environment that’s hostile to sexual predators.
Still, Netflix says, “This charge is without merit and we stand by the film.”
The best cure for a bad movie is a good book. We hope this Texas jury throws the book at Netflix.
Frank Holmes is a veteran journalist and an outspoken conservative that talks about the news that was in his weekly article, “On The Holmes Front.”