Netflix is now facing a criminal charge in the ongoing backlash over “Cuties,” a French film centered around a 11-year-old girl living in Paris who wants to join a local “free-spirited dance crew."
A grand jury indictment for promotion of lewd visual material depicting a child was filed on Sept. 23 in Tyler County, Texas, according to Texas state Rep. Matt Schaefer, a Republican.NBC News obtained a copy of the indictment Tuesday, confirming Schaefer's tweet.
The indictment states that Netflix promoted, distributed and exhibited 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” for the “prurient interest in sex.” It also states that the material held no serious "literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."
Netflix, Inc. indicted by grand jury in Tyler Co., Tx 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 appeals to the prurient interest in sex #Cuties #txlege pic.twitter.com/UJ1hY8XJ2l— Matt Schaefer (@RepMattSchaefer) October 6, 2020
"'Cuties' is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children," Netflix said in a statement to NBC News on Tuesday. "This charge is without merit and we stand by the film."
The Tyler County District Attorney’s office declined to not comment on the indictment.
Critics said the film and its promotional materials sexualized the young girls, equating it with child exploitation or child pornography.
The streaming company was criticized in August for the U.S. “Cuties” poster, which featured young girls in revealing two-piece dance costumes.
The French poster for “Cuties,” or “Mignonnes” in French, was of a group of girls walking on the street holding shopping bags.