Republican congressmen from Arizona and Colorado have demanded an investigation of “potential exploitation of children” in the now-infamous twerking-preteens film Cuties, arguing it encourages child sexual exploitation.
Reps. Andy Biggs (Arizona) and Ken Buck (Colorado) have urged the Justice Department to “open an investigation to ensure the film and its production uphold federal laws protecting children from exploitation,” expressing their concerns in a letter to Attorney General William Barr. Buck shared the letter with his followers on Twitter on Tuesday.
“Cuties” creates an environment that encourages the exploitation of children. We cannot stand idly by while @Netflix distributes this disturbing film. @RepAndyBiggsAZ and I are urging @TheJusticeDept to investigate immediately. https://t.co/U8YncY6hPo pic.twitter.com/w3k7IjvZXX
— Congressman Ken Buck (@RepKenBuck) September 14, 2020
Explaining that the film features young girls performing “sexually provocative dances,” preteen partial nudity, and other questionable material, the congressmen warned that not only is there a possibility the child actresses were exploited, but the film “creates an environment where the sexual abuse and exploitation of children by pedophiles is normalized.” Buck and Biggs reminded those who might defend the film on free speech grounds that the First Amendment does not protect “content that victimizes minors” and argued the explicit performances seen throughout Cuties constitute an “affront to the children’s dignity” while promoting the child sex trade.
They alluded to the film industry being rife with child sexual abuse, an unpleasant and long-ignored reality that still remains largely unacknowledged even in the wake of #MeToo, outside of a handful of disgraced celebrities. They also specifically suggested Barr’s department look into “those involved in the film’s casting and production to ensure these girls were not exploited behind the scenes.”
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While it’s extremely unlikely that US law can be applied retroactively to the filming of Cuties – originally titled Mignonnes, it was made in France, with French children in the roles of the eponymous twerking dance troupe – Netflix is a US company, making them arguably complicit at least in the distribution of a film that has sparked outrage around the country.
Biggs and Buck are only the latest members of Congress to condemn the award-winning film. Republican Senator Ted Cruz (Texas) has also called for an investigation, sending his own letter to Barr on Friday, while Rep. Jim Banks (R-Indiana) and Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) have denounced the film as “fodder for pedophiles.” Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) also joined the chorus, warning the film would “whet the appetite of pedophiles and help fuel the child sex trafficking trade” and urging her Twitter followers to #CancelNetflix.
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