Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee explained why he believes the making of the Netflix film “Cuties” could be criminal during a Tuesday night appearance on Fox News’ “The Story.”
Lee sent a letter Friday to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings demanding an explanation “as to whether or not the potential exploitation of minors in this film constitutes criminal behavior.”
Fox News host Martha MacCallum asked Lee for his reaction after reading a quote from the film’s director defending her work.
“I saw so many things and so many issues around me lived by young girls, that I decided to make this film and sound an alarm and say, ‘We need to protect our children.’ It’s bold, its feminist, but it’s also important and necessary to create debate and try to find solutions, for me as an artist, for politicians and parents. It’s a real issue,” the director’s statement said.
“Look, it’s really cute, it’s really fun and nice to be able to characterize it this way, when in fact this isn’t exposing child sexual exploitation. This film actually embodies that,” Lee said. “It profits from it. It normalizes it and that’s wrong. Netflix needs to take it off of its platform and people shouldn’t watch it.”
Lee argued that one of the actors portraying an 11-year-old “was actually 10 at the time it was filmed.”
“This was in itself an act of child sexual exploitation,” he said.
Lee acknowledged that attention needs to be brought to the “problem” of child exploitation, but not “by glamorizing it, by normalizing it and by profiting from it.”
“If you watch the movie, and you take the movie as a whole, what you will see is that this is not something that’s undertaken delicately,” he continued. “There are all kinds of assaults against children that are depicted in movies without highlighting them, without focusing on them obsessively, without glamorizing or normalizing them. This movie doesn’t do that. This movie is wrong and it needs to be taken off of Netflix.”
“What is it that you think could be potentially criminal?” MacCallum asked. (RELATED: Nancy Grace: ‘Every Pedophile … Is Going Straight Online Like A Bat Out Of Hell To Watch’ Netflix’s ‘Cuties’)
“Well look, a movie like this doesn’t make itself,” Lee responded. “These are not computer generated images, nor are they adult actors portraying minors. They had to use minors in order to produce this material. And the blatantly sexualized manner in which these little girls had to perform in order to do this itself makes the case. It does amount to child sexual exploitation on its face.”