‘YOU ARE NOW COMPLICIT’: Tulsi Gabbard Blasts Netflix For Promoting ‘Child Porn’

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PORTSMOUTH, NH - FEBRUARY 09: Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) answers media questions following a campaign event on February 9, 2020 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The first in the nation primary is on Tuesday, February 11.
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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) slammed Netflix late on Friday evening for promoting “Cuties” — which has been widely accused of sexualizing children — calling the movie “child porn” and declaring that the company was “now complicit” in helping fuel the “child sex trafficking trade.”

“The movie focuses on a group of 11-year-old girls who form a twerking dance group, much to the chagrin of one character’s very conservative Senegalese family,” Fox News reported. “Netflix previously apologized after the poster for the French film showed the underage cast posing in a sexual manner. Now, there’s renewed criticism over the movie, which premiered at Sundance.”

“@netflix child porn ‘Cuties’ will certainly whet the appetite of pedophiles & help fuel the child sex trafficking trade,” Gabbard wrote on Twitter. “1 in 4 victims of trafficking are children. It happened to my friend’s 13 year old daughter. Netflix, you are now complicit. #CancelNetflix”

Netflix defended the movie in a statement on Thursday, writing: “Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. It’s an award winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up — and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”

Daily Wire columnist Matt Walsh wrote:

Several weeks ago, Netflix began promoting a new film from French director Maimouna Doucoure called “Cuties.” The poster, featuring scantily clad children posing suggestively, caused well-deserved outrage. The Sundance Film Festival — which honored the film with a directing award — provided a synopsis that didn’t do much to quell the anger. According to Sundance, “Cuties” tells the story of an 11-year-old girl named Amy who, “through an ignited awareness of her burgeoning femininity, propels the group to enthusiastically embrace an increasingly sensual dance routine, sparking the girls’ hope to twerk their way to stardom at a local dance contest.” It is perhaps worth mentioning that Sundance was co-founded by a man who is now in prison for child sexual abuse. The film’s official description from Netflix was only slightly less grotesque-sounding: “Amy, 11, becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew. Hoping to join them, she starts to explore her femininity, defying her family’s traditions.”

After the backlash, Netflix apologized — not for the film itself, but simply for the “inappropriate artwork.” The streaming service also changed the synopsis, getting rid of any mention of “twerking” and instead calling it a “free-spirited dance crew.” Netflix did not bother to explain why they used that “inappropriate artwork” in their promotional materials in the first place. If it doesn’t actually reflect the content of the film, and if they are not trying to attract an audience of pedophiles who wish to see pubescent girls gyrate on camera, then what was the thought process behind the way it was originally marketed? We were never told.

The website Bustle said that the poster was simply “botched.” Well, I can understand “botching” a poster with a typo or some other error due to carelessness, but how do you “botch” something by accidentally turning it into softcore child porn? Many other media outlets rushed to the defense of the twerking children’s movie. An article by Anna Menta on The Decider scolded the film’s detractors, baselessly linking the criticism to the QAnon conspiracy theory, and insisting that we detractors owe the director an apology.  

Read Matt Walsh’s full column here.

This article has been updated to include additional information.

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