A Texas grand jury has indicted Netflix on a charge of disseminating lewd material by distributing the French film “Cuties.”
The grand jury in Tyler County, Texas, returned the indictment on Sept. 15 under a state law that forbids “the lewd exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of an unclothed, partially clothed, or clothed child.”
To be illegal, such material must appeal “to the prurient interest in sex” and have “no serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”
Netflix defended the film in a statement: “‘Cuties’ is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. This charge is without merit and we stand by the film.”
The Tyler County district attorney is Lucas Babin, a onetime model and actor who appeared as Spider, the shirtless musician in the 2003 film “School of Rock.” He also played Rocky on “The Young and the Restless,” according to his IMDb profile.
His office declined to comment on the indictment when reached by Variety on Tuesday, and declined to make him available for an interview.
“Cuties” tells the story of an 11-year-old Senegalese girl who joins a dance troupe. The movie debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and generated controversy when it was released early last month on Netflix.
The pic includes dance routines with suggestive choreography. The distributor has defended the film as a commentary on the hyper-sexualization of children.
“It’s scandalous to accuse us of promoting child pornography,” Bac Films CEO David Grumbach told Variety last month. “I think the protests are coming from the right wing — from a fringe of ultra conservatism.”
Babin’s father is Brian Babin, a Republican congressman. In March, Babin’s office charged a resident with making a “false alarm” for claiming to have tested positive for COVID-19 in a social media post.
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