The Parents Television Council (PTC) is calling for the White House to look into Netflix over claims the streaming giant has a pattern of “behavior” regarding content that "sexualizes" children, according to the parent organization.
The request comes amid the controversy over “Cuties,” a French film that tells the coming-of-age story of an 11-year-old girl as she discovers her maturing self, all while looking for acceptance in her religious family and group of young dancers she hopes to befriend. The movie sparked backlash and even led to the hashtag #CancelNetflix trending on social media.
“We are ultimately asking the President to instruct the DOJ to investigate Netflix not just for this film, but for its pattern of behavior,” said Melissa Henson, program director of the Parents Television Council, a nonpartisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. “We hope to get Netflix to be more responsible and refrain from sexualizing kids for entertainment going forward.”
In a letter last week to U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., PTC President Tim Winter claimed Netflix has a “corporate practice of graphically and grotesquely sexualizing children through its entertainment programming.”
He added in a news release at the time that “the problem with sexualizing children on Netflix runs deeper than just ‘Cuties.’”
“There is a strong link between sexualized media and the victimization and exploitation of children,” Winter claimed of the film, which has prompted more than 30 members of Congress to speak out against it.
“Please instruct your Attorney General to investigate Netflix to protect children from sexualization and exploitation,” Winter demanded.
To illustrate his point surrounding Netflix’s alleged “pattern of behavior” of sexualizing children, Winter brought up other programs on the platform, such as the original series “Big Mouth,” which touches light-heartedly on puberty, as well as the British comedy “Sex Education,” which centers on sexuality as it pertains to mental health.
Netflix defended the film in a statement to Fox News earlier this month, calling the project a “social commentary against the sexualization of young children," and "a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up.”
Meanwhile, “Cuties” writer and director, French-Senegalese filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré, also penned an op-ed for the Washington Post. In it, she wrote, “We, as adults, have not given children the tools to grow up healthy in our society,”
Prior to its release on the platform, Netflix also apologized over a promotional poster for the film, which differed from the European version. The U.S. version showed young girls resembling strippers.
“We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties. It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which won an award at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description,” the streaming platform wrote on Twitter last month.
A rep for Netflix did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.