A Tyler County Grand Jury has indicted Netflix for promoting the “lewd exhibition” of children.
After speaking out alongside other Texas politicians against the French Netflix film Cuties and asking the state attorney general’s office to investigate the film for violations, Texas Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) tweeted a photo of the indictment this morning.
“Netflix, Inc… knowingly promote[d] 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,” the indictment reads.
The Texas Rangers served the indictment to Netflix.
Tyler County Criminal District Attorney Lucas Babin, who presented the indictment, said the wide distribution of the film spurs “more, not less” legal action on the part of legal officials as local as Texas.
“As a district attorney, I have to sift through countless cases and make calls every day on how to keep our communities safe… 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,” Babin wrote.
“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?”
The indictment fulfills Schaefer’s prediction that legal experts would classify the film as pornographic. Schaefer had also said the film could potentially face prosecution as “distribution of harmful material” for its inevitable exposure to young boys.
“If this is legal, then literally anybody with a camera can get an underage girl, very young girl, and have her do nearly anything as long as there is the thinnest piece of fabric covering her body,” Schaefer told The Texan last month. “Ultimately, we have to realize that this film is gonna be seen by a lot of 12, 13, 14, 15, 16-year old boys. How is that not material harmful to a minor?”
The controversial release of the fictional film, which follows a twelve-year-old girl’s foray into a provocative dance group, kindled outrage and prompted several Texas Republicans to action.
Senator Bob Hall (R-Canton) swore to file a bill that would outlaw pedophilia in the state constitution, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton joined two other state attorney generals in a letter asking Netflix to remove the film, and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) asked U.S. Attorney General William Barr to investigate the company for “the filming of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.” State Rep. James White (R-Tyler) likewise wrote Paxton asking for an investigation into the film.
Editor’s note: The piece has been updated with information about the involvement of the Texas Rangers and with quotes from the Tyler County District Attorney.
Featured photo by Quote Catalog.
Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support. If you’d like to become one of the people we’re financially accountable to, click here to subscribe.