Netflix Asks Federal Judge to Halt ‘Cuties’ Child Porn Indictment

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Netflix has asked a federal judge to halt a Texas prosecutor’s child porn case against the streaming giant over their release of the film “Cuties” in 2020.   The movie was heavily criticized for its hyper-sexualized depictions of underage girls.

Netflix trailers for the film featured a lewd dance sequence, while a promotional poster featured pre-teen girls in sexually suggestive poses. The streaming giant apologized for the film’s marketing campaign but stood by the film and encouraged customers to watch it. “Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children,” a Netflix spokesperson said shortly after the film’s release. “It’s an award-winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up — and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”

Lucas Babin, who currently serves as district attorney in Tyler County, Texas, is pursuing child pornography charges against Netflix. Babin initially indicted the streaming giant for violating the state’s law against “lewd exhibition” of children shortly after the French film’s release in 2020. Netflix has argued that the case violates their first amendment rights.

A hearing was initially slated for early March, but on the eve of the hearing, Babin dropped the indictment and announced four new indictments under a different statute. Babin’s office argues that the film violates Texas state law against child pornography.

Netflix later requested injunctive relief aNend asked a federal judge to toss the case. “Without the Court’s intervention, Netflix will suffer irreparable harm by being forced to continue playing Babin’s game in state court and defending itself against even more baseless charges,” Netflix attorneys argued.

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The Texas Attorney General’s office later responded to the request in a statement to Variety. The state said that Netflix cannot go to federal court until the prosecution is concluded, and that to do so beforehand would encroach on the state’s authority. The state also argued that Babin has prosecutorial immunity from civil rights lawsuits.

“Mr. Babin strongly denies Netflix’s allegations that he acted in bad faith, with malice, or otherwise acted improperly,” Babin’s office said. The parties appeared before U.S. District Judge Michael J. Truncale in Beaumont on Friday, March 11. A hearing on the injunction request was set for June 14.

RELATED: Child Actors in Netflix’s ‘Cuties’ Are Even More Sexualized Than Conservatives Feared

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