Netflix has been slapped with serious charges over the controversial film "Cuties."
Released last September, the award-winning French film revolves around the story of an 11-year-old Muslim immigrant, who joins a contemporary and liberated dance group along with her three other friends.
Following its release, the coming-of-age drama movie written and directed by Maïmouna Doucouré received massive criticisms online for over-sexualizing the young actresses with their provocative outfits and dance routines.
Netflix Facing Criminal Charges Over "Cuties"
Amid the backlash, a Texas grand jury indicted the California-based streaming platform of criminal charges for promoting "visual material which depicts the lewd exhibition" of explicit parts of underaged girls.
This came after Texas Rep. Matt Schaefer filed a complaint on September 23 in Tyler County, Texas, stating that the film "appeals to the prurient interest in sex" with no form of artistic or literary value.
"Knowingly promote visual material which depicts the lewd exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a clothed or partially clothed child who was younger than 18 years of age at the time the visual material was created, which appeals to the prurient interest in sex, and has no serious, literary, artistic, political, or scientific value," according to court documents tweeted by Schaefer.
Netflix, Inc. indicted by grand jury in Tyler Co., Tx for promoting material in Cuties film which depicts lewd exhibition of pubic area of a clothed or partially clothed child who was younger than 18 yrs of age which appeals to the prurient interest in sex #Cuties #txlege pic.twitter.com/UJ1hY8XJ2l — Matt Schaefer (@RepMattSchaefer) October 6, 2020
Despite the charges, it appears that Netflix is standing their ground after insisting that the accusation is "without merit."
"Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. This charge is without merit, and we stand by the film," a spokesperson from the streaming giant mentioned, as obtained by Deadline.
"Cuties" Received Online Hate and Caused Subscriptions Cancellation
The film sparked social media uproar as users expressed their dismay over the controversial film. One of its biggest critics is "Men in Black" actress Tessa Thompson, who described the movie as "hyper-sexualization of preadolescent girls."
"#CUTIES is a beautiful film. It gutted me at @sundancefest. It introduces a fresh voice at the helm. She's a French Senegalese Black woman mining her experiences. The film comments on the hyper-sexualization of preadolescent girls. Disappointed to see the current discourse," Thompson wrote.
Moreover, #CancelNetflix also went viral on Twitter after several viewers threatened to cancel their subscription as a protest over the release of "Cuties."
"#CancelNetflix Cuties is an unreal BAD movie, I hope the people are ASHAMED to have disgusted me, I am canceling my subscription soon!" one angry subscriber posted.
Meanwhile, another user also called out Netflix for ignoring the online plea despite the massive criticism.
"Can't believe after the incredible backlash against Netflix for Cuties and nothing has happened. Well, we can all make differences in small ways, child exploration is never okay, so I'll never watch anything on Netflix until it's gone, until then.#cancelnetflix."
With the surge of Netflix cancellation, The Hollywood Reporter cited that the streaming giant lost an estimated 2.5 million subscribers, most of whom are from the U.S. and Canada.
Wells Fargo analyst Steven Cahall predicted that if this move continues, the platform will receive a massive blow of "28 million deactivations in the third quarter."