Netflix is now facing felony charges for “Cuties” as backlash against the controversial French film heads to the legal arena.
A Tyler County, Texas, grand jury indicted the streaming giant on 23rd September for promoting the “lewd” visual material “against the peace and dignity of the state”.
The one-page indictment, received by USA TODAY, states that Netflix promoted, distributed and exhibited material that “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” for the “prurient interest in sex”.
The documents also states that the film held no serious “literary, artistic, political, or scientific value”.
Netflix released “Cuties”, originally titled “Mignonnes,” last month to strong national reaction. The French-language film centres on 11-yera-old Amy, who becomes a member of a dance group dubbed the “Cuties”.
Two analytics companies that track Netflix subscribers reported in September that the streaming service saw an uptick in cancellations amid the controversy over the coming-of-age film, which some critics say sexualizes young girls.
Lucas Babin, Tyler County District Attorney, said in a statement posted on the office’s official Facebook page that the summons was served on Netflix October 1 by Texas Rangers.
The offence is a “state jail felony,” according to the statement.
Babin said in the statement that “The legislators of this state believe promoting certain lewd material of children has destructive consequences. If such material is distributed on a grand scale, isn’t the need to prosecute more, not less?
A grand jury in Tyler County found probably because for this felony and my job is to uphold the laws of this state and see that justice is done.”
Netflix says critics are missing the point of the film.
Netflix said in a statement to USA TODAY that “Cuties’ is a social commentary against the sexualisation of young children. This change is without merit and we stand by the film.”