Netflix Faces Criminal Charges In Texas Over French Film 'Cuties'

Netflix, Inc NFLX has been indicted by a grand jury in Texas over an alleged lewd depiction of children in some of its content.

What Happened: The subscription video-on-demand company was indicted in Tyler County, Texas in relation to the promotional material for the French film “Cuties,” Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Texas) said on Twitter.

The indictment states that the video streaming platform knowingly promoted “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.”

The indictment alleges the SVOD company appealed to the “prurient interest in sex” through Cuties, also known as Mignonnes. 

"Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children,” Netflix told NBC News — which first reported the news — in response to the indictment.

Why It Matters: Last month, Netflix reportedly saw a significant churn in subscribers over the film and the resulting controversy.

A petition demanding the film be removed from the platform had, at the time, gained over 600,000 signatures, with a demand that Netflix be charged with “Distribution of Inappropriate Child Material.”

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) expressed his dissatisfaction after talking to employees of the video streaming company on the phone. He asked Netflix to stop distribution of Cuties, saying, there were both moral and legal questions over the film, noted NBC News.

The senator said in a public statement Monday that he could not understand “how Netflix can condemn the conduct depicted in Cuties, while celebrating the film and filmmakers who asked several underage girls to stand in front of a camera and engage in that same 'inappropriate, shameful' conduct for all the world to see.”

Price Action: Netflix shares closed nearly 2.8% lower at $505.87 on Tuesday and fell 0.3% in the after-hours session.

Posted In: CutiesSVODtexasGovernmentNewsRegulationsLegalTech