A group of parents have alleged that Netflix’s new feature Desire depicts child pornography and petitioned the streaming giant to remove the film from its platform.The group, Parents Television Council, has penned a letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, saying that the Argentinean film shows nine-year-old girls indulging in sexual activity.
“I respectfully, but pointedly, ask you: Does the Netflix brand stand for the distribution of nine year old girls masturbating? The answer is yes or no; there is no other choice here,” Timothy F. Winter, president of the Parents Television Council, wrote in the letter to Hastings.The group accused Netflix of “showing a reckless disregard for the millions of families that keep your streaming platform alive and viable, and callously placing profits ahead of any sense of corporate responsibility, to potentially engaging in criminal activity.”
“At such a momentous time in Hollywood as this, where #MeToo is exposing grotesque behaviour and holding those accountable for engaging in it, how can Netflix affirmatively engage in the distribution of such disreputable content?” the letter stated.In a statement to IndieWire, the director of the film, Diego Kaplan, defended the scene. “When we see a shark eating a woman on film, no one thinks the woman really died or that the shark was real. We work in a world of fiction; and, for me, before being a director comes being a father,” he said.
Kaplan said the scene was filmed using a “trick” where the “girls were copying a cowboy scene from a film by John Ford. The girls never understood what they were doing, they were just copying what they were seeing on the screen”.”No adult interacted with the girls, other than the child acting coach. Everything was done under the careful surveillance of the girls’ mothers. Because I knew this scene might cause some controversy at some point, there is ‘Making Of’ footage of the filming of the entire scene,” he said. Netflix has not yet responded to the controversy.