Netflix indicted in Texas over ‘lewd’ depiction of children in movie

Netflix is facing criminal proceedings in Texas over the allegedly ‘lewd’ depiction of girls in a controversial French film, Cuties, that is on its platform.

The streaming service has faced criticism for the film and a poster showing pre-teen girls dancing in skimpy outfits. reports that Netflix has been indicted by a grand jury in east Texas for promoting work depicting the “lewd exhibition” of children under the age of 18.

According to the court filing, Netflix knowingly promoted work 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 at the time the visual material was created, which appeals to the prurient interest in sex”.

Responding to the allegation, Netflix said, “This charge is without merit and we stand by the film.”

The indictment, handed down last month in Tyler County, could see Netflix receive a fine of up to $20,000 (N7.7m).

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However, Netflix has said it is backing the film, which it described as “a social commentary against the sexualisation of young children”.

The movie, Cuties called Mignonnes in France, is about an 11-year-old from Senegal who joins a dance group. It was picked up by Netflix after its premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Its writer and director, a Franco-Senegalese film-maker, Maïmouna Doucouré, received a world cinema dramatic directing award at the film festival.

She described her work as “a deeply feminist film with an activist message” that aims to show how social media pushes girls to mimic sexualised imagery.

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