Netflix may have shrugged off criticism of controversial film Cuties starring a number of underage girls, however a grand jury in Texas, USA thinks otherwise

The streaming service has been indicted (formerly charged) with “knowingly promoting 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, and has no serious, literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”

The French film first faced backlash last month over it’s release after viewers complained about the overly sexualised nature, likening it to ‘child pornography’.

Cuties has been described as a ‘coming of age film about a young Senegalese girl who joins a westernised dance group’. In the process she discovers twerking and other erotic dance moves.

But Netflix subscribers and the public were not impressed – especially when it was discovered that the audition process of the film – which stars an 11-year-old female lead, but is classified for it’s ‘adult nature’ – involved hundreds of pre-teens (or tweens) who were required to twerk for a chance to star in the film!

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Despite the latest backlash, Netflix is standing by it’s original stance – that there is nothing wrong with the film – and that the charges are “without merit”

They said in an official statement: “Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children…This charge is without merit and we stand by the film.”

And the film’s writer and director Maimouna Doucouré has also defended her work, claiming she considers it to be “a deeply feminist film with an activist message”, which she believes is a “mirror of today’s society, a mirror sometimes difficult to look into”.

Cuties made it’s international film debut at the Sundance film festival in January this year, where it won the award for ‘world cinema dramatic directing’.

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