HOUSTON, Texas (NewsNation Now) — Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has called for the Justice Department to look into whether Netflix and the makers of the film “Cuties” violated federal laws against child pornography.
The French film is a coming-of-age story of an 11-year-old Senegalese girl who joins a hip-hop dance troupe. The film is receiving backlash from viewers and lawmakers alike regarding claims of hypersexualization of pre-teen girls and its appeal to pedophiles.
In the letter to Attorney General Bill Barr, Sen. 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. These scenes in and of themselves are harmful. And 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.”
Cruz concluded with a call to action for the Justice Department.
“Although the First Amendment provides vigorous protection for artistic expression, it does not allow individuals or for-profit corporations to produce or distribute child pornography,” Cruz wrote. Accordingly, I urge the Department to investigate the production of ‘Cuties’ and Netflix’s distribution of the film in order to determine whether Netflix, any of its executives, or anyone involved with the making of ‘Cuties’ violated any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography.”
Read the full letter below.
“Cuties” is the product of French director Maïmouna Doucouré. It debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah last year and earned Doucouré a best directing award.
Netflix’s decision to broadcast the film has also sparked a trending Twitter hashtag to #CancelNetflix and an online protest petition.