East Texas grand jury indicts Netflix for controversial ‘Cuties’ movie

Amy Poehler and Zac Efron are two of the familiar faces arriving to Netflix in May with...
Amy Poehler and Zac Efron are two of the familiar faces arriving to Netflix in May with something new. (Source: Netflix)(Netflix)
Updated: Oct. 6, 2020 at 1:51 PM CDT
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TYLER COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - A Tyler County grand jury has indicted Netflix Inc. in connection with a controversial movie titled Cuties. The grand jury indicted the California-based streaming service on a charge of promotion of lewd visual material depicting child.

“Netflix indicted by grand jury in Tyler Co, for promoting material in Cuties film which depicts lewd exhibition of pubic area of a clothed or partially clothed child who was younger than 18 yrs of age which appears to the prurient interest in sex,” Schaefer said in his tweet.

According to the Tyler County document, the indictment was filed with the district clerk’s office on Sept. 23.

The text of the indictment states that Netflix knowingly promotes "visual material which 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 and has no serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value … "

The indictment went on to say that the company does that by issuing, selling, promoting, delivering, distributing, disseminating, transmitting, publishing, exhibiting, or advertising a movie called Cuties, also known as Mignonnes.

Promotion of the movie was “authorized or recklessly tolerated” by high managerial agents of Netflix that the indictment identified as Wilmot Reed Hastings Jr. or Anthony Sarandos Jr.

According to a synopsis on the Netflix website, Cuties was released in 2020, and it is rated “TV-MA.”

“Eleven-year-old Amy starts to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew,” the Netflix synopsis states.

There are numerous petitions urging Netflix to remove Cuties from its lineup on the change.org web site. One of them has more than 400,000 supporters.

Tyler County District Attorney Lucas Babin released the following statement:

“As a district attorney, I have to sift through countless cases and make calls every day on how to keep our communities safe. In our county, it is not uncommon for me to confront cases with underage victims. After hearing about the movie Cuties and watching it, I knew there was probable cause to believe it was criminal under Section 43.262 of the Texas Penal Code. 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 probable cause for this felony, and my job is to uphold the laws of this State and see that justice is done.”

Babin said in his press release that Netflix was served a summons on Oct. 1 by Texas Rangers.

Netflix said in a previous statement that “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," a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement.

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