Democrat Tulsi Gabbard Says Netflix is Complicit in Child Sex Trafficking for 'Child Porn' Film 'Cuties'

Former Democratic primary contender, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has weighed into the controversy surrounding the Netflix film Cuties as criticism mounts over accusations it sexualizes children.

Already many have voiced their anger at the decision by the streaming platform to show the French film, whose plot about an 11-year-old girl who becomes fascinated with a dance crew, features routines that have been condemned as sexually suggestive and exploitative, a claim Netflix denies.

This week, #CancelNetflix has been trending with calls for people to boycott the platform. The latest high profile figure to add that hashtag to the debate was Gabbard, who represents Hawaii's second congressional district and was the first female combat veteran to run for president.

U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard
Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) on Super Tuesday Primary night on March 3 in Detroit, Michigan. She has condemned Netflix for the film Cuties, accusing it of sexually exploiting children. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Sharing a film poster of the girls in the film posing, Gabbard tweeted: "@netflix child porn 'Cuties' will certainly whet the appetite of pedophiles & help fuel the child sex trafficking trade. 1 in 4 victims of trafficking are children. It happened to my friend's 13 year old daughter. Netflix, you are now complicit. #CancelNetflix"

Her tweet was retweeted and liked tens of thousands of times and many reacted in a thread, in which she made further comments.

"This serves as a good reminder for all parents to check their children's technology access/parent controls. This garbage is all over social media and if you have a smart TV...they can get to it. Lock it down! It's our job as parents to protect their innocence," tweeted one person, prompting Gabbard to respond: "You are right. Well said."

In response, Eugene Wu tweeted to his 500,000 followers: "The film Cuties is a social commentary AGAINST child sexualization and exploitation. But social media and the mainstream media is all about Puritanical false accusations because this is America, and this is how we roll."

Also in the thread, Gabbard wrote about child trafficking, saying that "most people think it's not a serious issue or that it just happens to some people in other places. It is rampant and happening in our own communities."

Titled Mignonnes in France, the film has been received well critically and won a directing award at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival but its release on Netflix has been met with considerable opposition.

Missouri Senator Josh Hawley sent a letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings in which he says the decision to air the film "raises major questions of child safety and exploitation, including the possibility of copycat behavior and exploitation of child actors."

The director Maïmouna Doucouré says the film takes aim at society's sexualization of girls, through a group of 11-year-old girls although last month Netflix apologized for the film's promotional images.

"'Cuties' is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children," a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement, Deadline reported.

"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." Newsweek has contacted Netflix for comment.