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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
This article was originally published in National Catholic Register.
“The global ruling class likes pedophilia.” That was the opening line of my speech entitled, “Childhood Sexual Abuse: Ending it, Healing it.” I can’t prove it in a court of law, of course. But we have now accumulated enough circumstantial evidence to convict in the court of public opinion. The Netflix film Cuties, and the controversy surrounding it, provides even more evidence to support my working hypothesis.
Netflix promoted the French-made film in the U.S. with a poster that was far more risqué than the poster that promoted the original version of the film. Netflix quickly walked back the images and apologized: “The movie is about a group of pre-teen girls doing highly eroticized dance routines to win a competition,” stated the network’s revised description.
The general public was not persuaded. In the Rotten Tomatoes reviews of Cuties, professional “critics” rated it 88% positively, while audience reviewers gave it an astonishingly low 3% rating. As part of the public’s reaction, an online petition called on the FBI to investigate Netflix. Another petition is calling people to cancel their subscriptions to Netflix. Both of these petitions currently have more than 600,000 supporters. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has called on U.S. Attorney General Barr to investigate whether federal laws were violated in the making of the film.
Cuties, which was released Sept. 9, and the controversy surrounding it fit perfectly into the bigger picture of the elite support for pedophilia. I made my statement to this effect on July 18, 2020, at the Ruth Institute’s Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution. The evidence I cited at that time included:
Public school teachers and administrators failing to deal with known sexual offenders, as illustrated in a book entitled, Passing the Trash.
Peter Newell, one of the co-authors of UNICEF’s Implementation Handbook for the Convention on the Rights of the Child, convicted of child abuse.
U.N. peacekeeping troops engaged in “food for sex” scandals with children in refugee camps, (cited on pp. 163-69 of The Invincible Family.)
Our very own Catholic scandals of the abuse of minors by Catholic priests, long covered up by the hierarchy.
And of course, we mustn’t forget Jeffrey Epstein, who, by the way, did not kill himself.
In the six weeks since I gave that talk, Cuties is just one of several additional incidents pointing to the same conclusion. Second on the list of soft-on-pedophilia news, we have the Democratic Party’s nomination of Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s Vice-President and presumptive successor. In the seven years she was San Francisco’s District Attorney, she did not prosecute a single Catholic priest for sexual abuse.
According to a book by Peter Schweizer (Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite) of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, San Francisco was the only one in which no priests were prosecuted. Schweizer hints that campaign contributions to the Harris as she advanced in her political career explains why she halted an investigation that her predecessor had already begun. But who knows?
Victims’ groups have questionedHarris’ avoidance of the issue of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in California. They have highlightedthat Harris’ successor as California attorney general has already done more than Harris did to aid victims and investigate clergy sexual abuse.
In another move that’s soft on pedophilia, the California Assembly recently weakened the prohibition on statutory rape. The new law adds exemptions from mandatory registration in the state’s sexual offender registry, adults who had homosexual sex with a minor, if the ages of the victim and the perpetrator are less than 10 years apart.
Equality California explainsits support for the change. Current law allows judicial discretion for consensual yet illegal “sexual intercourse,” that is, vaginal intercourse, between a teenager 14-17 and a partner within 10 years of age. But current law does not allow the same discretion for consensual yet illegal oral or anal sex. Equality California considers this unfair to gay 20-somethings. They evidently didn’t notice that “Equality” in California could be achieved by removing judicial discretion for everyone.
There’s also this latest report: Jerry Harris, 21-year-old star of the Netflix series Cheer, was charged in federal court with producing child pornography, with victims aged 13 and 17. This is the type of person that Equality California wants to protect.
These incidents all point in the same direction. Among the rich and powerful are people who want to sexually exploit young girls and boys. These people have the power to steer the law and culture to make it easier for themselves and harder for their victims.
These same elite movers and shakers engage in culture-wide grooming. At last year’s Super Bowl halftime show Superstar pop singers Jennifer Lopez and Shakira performed a sexually stimulating act in front of millions of people. The Children’s Voice Chorus of Miami, with 40 children, some pre-adolescent, appeared amid the show’s sexual gyrations. The NFL and Pepsi, the corporate sponsors, evidently thought this was just fine and dandy.
These same opinion-makers engage in “gaslighting” the public, to make us doubt the evidence of our own senses and our moral sensibilities. A New York Times article used the time-honored technique of deflection. “Calls to remove the film have gained particular traction among supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory.” The New York Times provides a link to another story in The Times of course, helpfully explaining how deranged QAnon is. We are supposed to draw the conclusion that everyone who complains about Cuties, including all those audience reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes, are nut-job conspiracy theorists who can safely be dismissed.
Let’s give the director of the film, Maïmouna Doucouré, the benefit of the doubt. Originally from Senegal, she said in an interview, that the idea for Cuties came to her after she attended an event in Paris. She witnessed a group of 11-year-olds performing a highly sexualized dance.
“I was so shocked,” she said. “For me, it was just, ‘Oh my God. What am I seeing?’” Many of the children’s parents, who were also watching the show, wore traditional religious dress, she added, and the culture shock fascinated her.
Okay, let’s take this at face value. I’ve seen some children’s dance troops that were shocking to me, so I get it. (Memo to mothers, fathers and grandparents: get your kids out of these type of dance schools.) Maybe the director did not intend to sexually stimulate her audience. That begs the question: What did the marketing department of Netflix intend? Someone decided to scrap the innocent-looking French poster in favor of the twerking poster for promotion of the film to an American audience.
This more charitable interpretation of the film itself doesn’t actually detract from my overall argument. In fact, it points directly to Netflix, the U.S.-based global entertainment giant as the main culprit in marketing the early sexualization of young girls. (For all I know, they may have done a huge disservice to the film’s creator.)
Netflix is still making plenty of money from the film and the controversy surrounding it. Will this help our daughters’ develop a wholesome understanding of their bodies? Will it make the job of conscientious parents easier? I somehow doubt it. More to the point, I somehow doubt that Netflix cares.
My working assumption is that the global ruling class is at best, utterly indifferent to the suffering of child sexual abuse victims. At worst, the global ruling class is actively participating in, profiting from or otherwise complicit in, child sexual abuse. Unless and until I receive evidence to the contrary, I will continue to assume that this is true. The controversial Netflix film Cuties is just one more thread in an increasingly explicit and disturbing tapestry.
Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., is the founder and president of The Ruth Institute. Her latest book is The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives (and How the Church Was Right All Along).