Netflix fights back against Texas DA’s ridiculous pursuit of ‘Cuties’
Netflix is still dealing with the film’s fallout cute getting a targeted backlash, with the court case between the streaming service and Tyler County District Attorney Lucas Babin. In 2020, when Netflix released a vulgar and tasteless poster for cutewhich they acquired from the first French director Maïmouna Doucouré, they unleashed an unwarranted firestorm outside her door.
The film – which deals with the reality of young girls, and specifically the lens of a black Muslim girl, growing up in a hyper-sexualized Western culture – was seen as promoting that kind of culture by people who had never seen the film. Politicians like Ted Cruz used it as an example of child pornography.
The people who defended the film, including BIPOC critics who actually saw the movie, have been called horrible names and accused of normalizing pedophilia. Internet did not allow cute be what she is, and all parties have instead used her as a punching bag for their other causes.
And it’s still ongoing.
Babin accused Netflix of promoting child erotica, who, according to yahoo, is “content that depicts children in an obscene manner, not to be confused with child pornography”. Netflix has asked the federal courts to intervene to stop the lawsuits, arguing that Babin is knowingly pursuing a case he will lose, in order to harass Netflix.
“It’s insane prosecution overkill,” says Duncan Levin, a former federal and state attorney. “He abuses the power of his office to chill free speech.”
The “child erotica” law in Texas came into being in 2017 to cover things that are not included in the scope of child pornography laws. However, the law was found unconstitutional under the First Amendment in another unrelated case, which made the indictment more viable.
The Texas First District Court of Appeals found that the law was too broad. A teenager who takes an obscene photo of himself, for example, could hypothetically be found in violation of the law. Just like anyone who has even watched Cuties. The court pointed to Babin’s indictment against Netflix as one of the grounds for his detention. “As currently drafted, the law could apply not only to Netflix, but also to people who viewed the offending visual material,” reads the court order.
Despite this, Babin refused to voluntarily dismiss the indictment and continues to fight with Netflix over something that is very no child erotica, even if it makes people uncomfortable. Babin added four new indictments suddenly on Thursdayand apparently doesn’t dispute a scene in which a grown woman briefly shows off her breasts.
Netflix’s court filing says: “Despite previously telling Netflix that the first indictment was not issued as a result of this scene, and despite Netflix’s offer being refused on the 9 October to show that the actress in this scene was, in fact, an adult at the time, one of Babin’s new indictments is based on facts that Babin obviously knew or should have known were false.
The case with cute has always been difficult for me. While we agree that “cancel culture” as the right has framed it doesn’t really exist, rushing to judgment with righteous fury, regardless of the facts, that may lead to mental and emotional harassment of marginalized people is real. Maïmouna Doucouré received death threats for this film and audiences refused to engage with the film in good faith because they did not want to be called a name.
It’s a problem, and using state resources to pursue a dead case of influence, in the midst of everything we’re going through as a nation, is disgusting.
(via yahoopicture: Netflix)
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