Donald Trump Jr has called Netflix's hosting of the film the "normalization of pedophelia and the sexualization of our children." He said of the Democrats who defend the film: "Not a good look!"
Ted Cruz and Tammy Bruce have labeled it "child porn."
The outcry about the film (which I have not seen), has led to calls for a boycott of Netflix, and several members of Congress have called for a Justice Department investigation.
According to Netflix, the French indie film is actually “a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. 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.”
The film's director, Maïmouna Doucouré, has stated that the movie pulled from elements of her own childhood in its portrayal of 11-year-old Amy’s struggles between "two distinct modes of femininity: one dictated by the traditional values of her Senegalese and Muslim upbringing, the other by Western society."
So, we have a national uproar over a female-directed French film that grapples with society's sexualization of young children. Make no mistake -- this is a film that, otherwise, would have debuted on Netflix with little fanfare, and would have found a modest viewership among fans of international cinema and films that address social issues such as Pihu or The Florida Project --not exactly a broad demographic.
Let's be clear. There is a very big difference between defending the sexualization of children and defending a film about the sexualization of children. It's fair to say that "Leaving Las Vegas" features intense, challenging scenes depicting substance abuse. It's not fair to say that "Leaving Las Vegas" is pro-substance abuse.
We can certainly chastise Netflix for their misleading and admittingly inappropriate marketing of the film, but if the Right were truly concerned about the sexualization of children, why have they been so silent about, say, Dance Moms, or Toddlers & Tiaras -- massively popular actual shows about the actual sexualization of actual children?
Why are they not outraged by Donald Trump sexualizing his own 1-year old daughter by openly discussing the future development of her breasts and legs?
Where is the petition to remove Trump from office for sexualizing a 10-year old girl -- on camera -- by stating, "I'm going to be dating her in ten years?"
How do they feel about the filed affidavit alleging Trump and Epstein raped at 13-year old girl at a party in New York City?
Or what about the allegations that one of Epstein's victims was recruited at Mar-a-Lago where she worked as a spa attendant?
What about when Trump sexualized another daughter when asked what he had in common with her? (He replied, "Sex.")
The female director of "Cuties," who wrote and directed the film to shine a light on the sexualization of children, has received death threats as an outflow of the controversy -- a controversy largely fuelled by Trump, GOP figureheads, and conservative commentators.
Meanwhile, a great many of those outraged are supporters of Trump, an admitted sexual predator with a well-documented and long history of very real (and very public) sexualization of children, including allegations of child rape.
Not a good look.