Dozens of Republicans have called for Netflix to be prosecuted over a movie that shows 11-year-old girls dancing provocatively.
The entertainment platform streamed Cuties despite already being mired in controversy over a promotion poster for the film that was sexually suggestive. Netflix apologized for the poster but not for streaming the film, which shows the scantily-clad girls twerking on stage.
The film's director, Maïmouna Doucouré, has claimed that Cuties is supposed to "sound the alarm" about the premature sexualization of young girls, but she has failed to convince critics.
Now 34 Republican lawmakers are calling on US Attorney General William Barr to prosecute Netflix over the French film.
In their letter, they say it contains numerous "distressing" depictions of minors that "clearly" meet the legal definition of child pornography.
It follows calls from Republican Senator Ted Cruz for the Department of Justice to investigate Netflix and those involved in the production of Cuties to determine whether they "violated any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography".
"It is likely that the filming of this movie created even more explicit and abusive scenes, and that pedophiles across the world in the future will manipulate and imitate this film in abusive ways," he said.
The state attorney generals from Florida, Louisiana and Texas have written a joint letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings asking for Cuties to be pulled.
"While the filmmaker's asserted desire to fight the hypersexualization of young girls is admirable, the manner in which the film attempts to do so is misguided and does more harm than good," they say.
Ohio's Attorney General Dave Yost went further, saying the film "whets the appetites" of pedophiles.
Reuters reports that Netflix experienced a spike in cancellations after Cuties streamed on the platform, jumping to nearly eight times higher than the average daily levels recorded in August 2020.
Close to three quarters of a million people have signed a petition on Change.org calling on Netflix to remove Cuties and be charged with exploiting minors.