Led by Franco-Muslim director, Texas grand jury charges Netflix for “Cuties”
HOUSTON: Netflix has been indicted in the state of Texas, in the southern United States, for showing the French film “Cuties”, directed by Franco-Senegalese Muslim director Maimouna Doucoure and accused of portraying children of obscene manner.
The streaming service was the subject of a grand jury hearing in Tyler County, east of Houston, in mid-September, and a local politician revealed on Tuesday that the same jury had issued a indictment.
When does art become problematic? Read our review of “Cuties” here.
âCuties,â which was posted online in early September, follows the story of a rebellious 11-year-old Parisian from a conservative Muslim family called Amy who joins a dance group that sometimes performs provocative moves.
The Texas grand jury indicted Netflix under a law that prohibits “obscene exposure of the genitals or pubic area of ââan unclothed, partially clothed or clothed child.”
A guilty verdict in Texas could result in jail time, although analysts have said a fine and being forced to remove the film would be a more likely outcome.
The jury decided that the film had “no serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value”.
Netflix defended the film. A spokesperson told AFP that the film is a “social commentary against the sexualization of young girls”, adding that the accusation is “without merit”.
In September, Republican Senator from Texas Ted Cruz, who had not seen the film, asked the Justice Department to investigate whether he had broken laws prohibiting child pornography.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton joined two other state attorneys general in a letter asking Netflix to remove the film from its hugely popular streaming platform.
The âCutiesâ controversy has mobilized the US conservative right in Texas and beyond as the November 3 elections approached. The Trump campaign has attempted to portray this as a sign of two contrasting visions of society, the traditional Christian values ââof Republicans and the more iconoclastic and liberal approach of Democrats.
âCutiesâ, called âMignonnesâ in French, won director Doucoure an award at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival.
In a Washington Post op-ed, Doucoure said his film is about the objectification of women and children, and the pressure pre-teens feel to look pretty and sexy.