LOS GATOS, CA- The streaming supergiant, Netflix, is set to release a new animated film depicting the racial profiling by law enforcement that led to the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery. One of the glaring issues with this film is that Arbery was not shot by a police officer.
The Netflix film “Cops and Robbers” is set to be released on December 28th. It was written by Timothy Ware-Hill and Arnon Manor. The film was inspired by a poem, by Ware-Hill, that was written after the filmmaker viewed footage of Arbery’s shooting.
Netflix described the film saying:
“Animation and activism unite in this multimedia spoken-word performance that brings awareness to racial profiling, police violence, and other injustices,”
While speaking with Variety, Ware-Hill and Manor stated that they wanted to make the film “for all the Black men, women and children who have been victims of racial profiling, police violence, loss of life and other injustices just for being themselves.”
Ware-Hill delved into more details about the movies development in an interview with Jada Pinkett Smith. The filmmaker stated that that he reenacted the moments leading up to Arbery’s death to “connect” to the story.
“I took a poem and I decided to jog and recite it to connect it to Ahmaud’s story of a black man just running in his neighborhood, minding his business, and being killed while the poem asks the question ‘how do we get back to a place of innocence?’”
He went on to say:
“How do we get to a place of seeing black people as human beings? Do cops remember being kids when we used to just play together? That’s the last line of the poem that I pose at the end – do you remember that when you were just a human and you weren’t a police officer?”
The filmmaker concluded his thoughts by asking how officers can regain their humanity:
“It wasn’t black and blue, it was us. And where did that disconnect happen when you joined the force and how can you go back to that humanity that you had growing up as a kid and still wear it with your uniform and still serve and protect all people?”
Manor also spoke about his motives for making the movie, claiming that he felt compelled to act after seeing Arbery’s killers chase him down “like an animal on the street.”
But, there is one key piece missing in the upcoming “Cops and Robbers” film… cops.
The movie, and Netflix by extension, seems to have done shockingly little research into the circumstances surrounding the death of Arbery. If they had put an ounce of effort into understanding the events leading to the shooting then they would know Arbery was not murdered by law enforcement officers.
Arbery was killed by Travis McMichael, the son of a former district attorney’s investigator Greg McMichael.
Neither member of the father son duo were active law enforcement officers, and Greg McMichael had lost his policing powers over a year before the shooting of Arbery.
Arbery’s death was tragic, but it was not the result of poor policing; it wasn’t the result of any policing. The shooting occurred during a confrontation between two civilians. To paint it as an act of police misconduct is dangerous.
But, this isn’t the first time Netflix has used poor decision making when added a new film to their streaming service. Read about one of their other blunders below.
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Netflix indicted over sexually exploitive film ‘Cuties’: ‘Distribution of child porn’
TYLER COUNTY, TX- A Texas jury has indicted Netflix for promoting a film containing “lewd” material of children. The movie “Cuties” has garnered widespread backlash for including explicit clips of young girls dancing.
The French film initially came to the streaming service on September 9th and quickly received negative reviews. Sen. Ted Cruz is a member of the opposition and has called the film “sexual exploitation.”
In a letter to the US Attorney General Sen. Cruz claimed that the movie “sexualizes” minors:
“The video streaming service and content-producer Netflix is currently hosting a film entitled “Cuties” that sexualizes young girls, including through dance scenes that simulate sexual activities and a scene exposing a minor’s bare breast.”
Cruz went on to call for an investigation into Netflix and its executives for the distribution of child pornography:
“Although the First Amendment provides vigorous protection for artistic expression, it does not allow individuals or for-profit corporations to produce or distribute child pornography.”
Cruz was not alone in the crusade to hold Netflix accountable, and now a Texas grand jury is doing just that.
We all have a duty to protect the children under our care. When adults fail in that duty, young lives are harmed, predators are emboldened, and society itself is coarsened as a consequence.
No “art” or “social commentary” can justify such a moral outrage.https://t.co/8Pio3M0vO3
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) September 15, 2020
.@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 pic.twitter.com/GI8KFH7LFq
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) September 12, 2020
The indictment came on September 23 and was released to the public by Texas State Rep. Matt Schaefer who said:
“Netflix, Inc. indicted by grand jury in Tyler Co., Tx for promoting material in Cuties film which depicts lewd exhibition of pubic area of a clothed or partially clothed child who was younger than 18 yrs of age which appeals to the prurient interest in sex.”
Netflix, Inc. indicted by grand jury in Tyler Co., Tx for promoting material in Cuties film which depicts lewd exhibition of pubic area of a clothed or partially clothed child who was younger than 18 yrs of age which appeals to the prurient interest in sex #Cuties #txlege pic.twitter.com/UJ1hY8XJ2l
— Matt Schaefer (@RepMattSchaefer) October 6, 2020
The indictment alleges that the media corporation did:
“knowingly promote visual material which depicts the lewd exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a clothed or partially clothed child who was younger than 18 years of age at the time the visual material was created, which appeals to the prurient interest in sex, and has no serious, literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”
The court document also alleges that employees of the company acted recklessly in their inclusion of the movie:
“The promotion of said film was authorized or recklessly tolerated by a high managerial agent of Netflix.”
Previously, Netflix has retracted and apologized for posts related to the film after using “inappropriate artwork” to promote it:
“We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties. It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which won an award at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description.”
We're deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties. It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which won an award at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description.
— Netflix (@netflix) August 20, 2020
But this time the streaming service is standing by the explicit content. In a statement to TMZ a Netflix Spokesperson argued that the movie is a “social commentary” rather than exploitation:
“’Cuties’ is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. This charge is without merit and we stand by the film.”
The stakes for the lawsuit are difficult to determine. Should Netflix be found guilty of the felony charges the company could face up to a mere $20,000 in fines. However, if the court concludes that Netflix profited from the movie they could be forced to pay fines up to twice the amount they earned.
A grand jury in Tyler County, population 21,000 in East Texas, indicted Netflix over promotion of the movie "Cuties."
The district attorney is the son of U.S. @RepBrianBabin, an outspoke opponent of the film. https://t.co/ZrSWPt3jFj
— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) October 6, 2020
This case is unusual and in some ways unprecedented. If Netflix is found guilty of the charges it would set a large precedent for streaming services and movie production companies.
Watch the trailer for “Cuties” below:
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