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Netflix charged with child exploitation

Cuties Texas Flag 2
Cuties and the Texas state flag.

Netflix Inc NFLX.O is facing a criminal charge in a Texas county for promoting lewd visuals of a child in the French film “Cuties”, according to a statement from Tyler county’s district attorney’s office on Tuesday.

While the film does not contain any underage nudity, it includes a minute-long scene with close-ups of the girls in the dance group gyrating their thighs, butts and stomachs,.

The document, filed on Sept. 23, said Netflix promoted material in the film that depicts lewd exhibition of the pubic area of a clothed or partially clothed child who was younger than 18 years of age which appeals to the prurient interest in sex.

Netflix did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

The plot of “Cuties” centers around an 11-year-old Muslim girl who “starts to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew,” according to Netflix.

Texas representative Matt Schaefer tweeted here a picture of the indictment document and NBC News reported the matter earlier on Tuesday.

The movie was shot with a counselor on set and got approval from the French government’s child-protection authorities.

“Cuties” was previously criticized internationally for allegedly sexualizing 11-year-old girls in its promotional poster. Netflix later apologized for the “inappropriate artwork”, saying it was not representative of the film.

Last month, Turkey’s broadcasting watchdog said here it would order Netflix to block access locally to the film on grounds that it contains images of child exploitation.

The Tyler County grand jury indicted the company, not its executives, on charges of promotion of lewd visual material depicting a child, a state jail felony. In Texas, a corporation convicted of a felony can face a fine of up to $20,000, according to the penal code. If the court further finds that the company benefited financially from a crime, the penalties can increase to twice the amount earned, according to the Texas Tribune.

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