NETFLIX HAS dismissed the criminal charges brought the controversial documentary Cuties by a Texas court as “without merit”.
The streaming giant is facing a criminal charge over the film’s allegedly “lewd” depiction of children in the critically-lauded film.
French-Senegalese filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré won the Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival for her debut feature
Cuties follows the experiences of an 11-year-old old Senegalese girl living in Paris who defies the traditions of her conservative to join up with a “free-spirited dance crew”.
Critics were quick to praise the film for confronting serious and concerning themes about the increasing hyper-sexualisation of pre-adolescent girls with poignancy and nuance.
However, a backlash has grown against Cuties in the months since, with critics on social media accusing the film of portraying its young stars in a sexualised way.
Now a grand jury in Tyler County, Texas, has indicted the streaming giant on the charge of “promotion of lewd visual material depicting a child”.
According to the indictment, Cuties appeals to the “prurient interest in sex” and holds “no serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value”.
Netflix has refused the claims with a representative telling the Press Association: “Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualisation of young children. This charge is without merit and we stand by the film.”
Doucouré has also sought to defend her work from such criticism, arguing it is “a deeply feminist film with an activist message” that serves as a “mirror of today’s society, a mirror sometimes difficult to look into”.