SALT LAKE CITY – Sen. Mike Mike asked the US Attorney General to investigate the controversial Netflix show “Cuties” for possibly violating child abuse laws.
The Utah Republican called on the media services giant to deliver “in the interest of protecting children in the United States and internationally from this horrific abuse.”
Lee said in a letter to Netflix on Friday that his staff was reviewing the French-African film released on Wednesday to decide whether to refer it to federal law enforcement.
The letter reads, “It would be most helpful if you could provide my office with an explanation on your views or not, the potential exploitation of minors in this film criminalises by Friday, September 18, 2020.”
“Cuties” is about an 11-year-old who, according to Netflix, joins a “free-spirited” dance troupe and rebels against his conservative Muslim family. But conservatives say some of the scenes in the film are of child pornography, and they are canceling their Netflix accounts.
Lee wrote, “Many have raised concerns – which I share – about the depiction of the exploitation of young girls’ bodies.”
In the letter, Lee says he is concerned with the film’s younger actresses’ influence on other young girls, but his greater concern is with the possibility that inappropriate scenes may encourage sexual abuse of young girls by adults.
Lee said he understands that the film has a broader story but its “sexual exploitation of young girls – if not child actors sexually abused – would certainly contribute to child sexual abuse by others.”
The federal government spent hundreds of millions of dollars on child trafficking, child sexual abuse and child pornography both domestically and abroad.
A Netflix spokesman said in a statement on Thursday that “Katis” is a social comment against sexual abuse of young children.
According to the statement, “It is an award-winning film and growing social media and society in general about pressurized young girls – and we encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the film will do.” .
Netflix responded to complaints last month about the coming-of-age film, which won the World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City earlier this year. After releasing a promotional poster that featured the four girls in suggestive poses, the company released a new poster and apologized in a statement to Deadline magazine last month.
“Cuties” is rated TV-MA, which means it should be watched by mature, adult audiences and contains content that may be unsuitable for children under 17.
“My concern is not necessarily that the film is rated TV-MA, but because of the TV-MA rating, ‘explicit sexual activity’ includes sexually suggestive dancing by girls up to the age of 11,” Lee wrote.