There have been calls for legal action to be taken against Netflix over the film "Cuties", which critics say amounts to child sexual exploitation.
Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and Indiana Rep. Jim Banks told the Daily Caller they want the Department of Justice to bring legal action against Netflix over the release of the French film, which has been denounced for its depiction of scantily clad 11-year-old girls.
In the film, the girls form a dance troupe and enter competitions with performances that involve twerking and dancing suggestively on stage.
"There's no excuse for the sexualization of children, and Netflix's decision to promote the film 'Cuties' is disgusting at best and a serious crime at worst," Cotton told the Caller.
"I urge the Department of Justice to take action against Netflix for their role in pushing explicit depictions of children into American homes."
Netflix last month apologised over a sexualised promotional poster used to advertise the film, but did not refrain from streaming it in its entirety despite widespread criticism.
A petition on Change.org calling on Netflix to remove the film, and demanding that the video platform be charged with distribution and exploiting minors has accumulated nearly half a million signatures.
Director Maimouna Doucouré has defended the film, claiming that the intention was to challenge child exploitation, not endorse it.
Her claims have been widely panned by critics in light of the film's release.
Daily Wire columnist Matt Walsh wrote: "This is not a 'commentary' on child sexual exploitation — it is child sexual exploitation, clear as day, in all its sadism.
"With these horrific scenes now publicly available, it seems almost pointless to engage with the plainly absurd notion that the filmmakers had 11-year-old children writhe around and gyrate while barely clothed as some kind of protest against the sexualization of children.
"It would be like a slasher film, featuring several scenes of various screaming victims being disemboweled for our amusement, claiming in its defense that it only meant to comment on the problem of graphic violence in film."
The Benedict Option author Rod Dreher wrote on The American Conservative that the film "serves to accustom us to the sexualization of children".
"The problem with Cuties — and it's what destroys the movie — is aesthetic, and ultimately moral: it engages and demonstrates with great passion the very thing it purports to condemn," he said.
The Times columnist Janice Turner wrote: "Why is it OK for scantily clad 11-year-old 'drag kids' to perform for dollar bills in gay bars but not for a little girl to lap-dance in a sports bar? Why are adult drag acts, including one called 'Flow Job', invited to tell toddlers fairy stories in public libraries? Why are children encouraged to mix with fetishists dressed as leather-clad "pups" at Pride marches? The answer 'because gay culture is empowering' isn't good enough.
"Hyper-sexualisation of children should be challenged wherever it occurs. A film featuring 11-year-old girls dressed as hookers doesn't reveal a society 'terrified of child sexuality' but one without shame. And no child should be denied proper protection from adults just because he is gay."