Statement by Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of NCOSE
Washington, DC – The movie “Show Dogs”—currently in theaters—is a children’s movie about a detective dog who goes undercover at a dog show which also has a story arc normalizing unwanted genital touching to its child audience.
“The movie Show Dogs sends a troubling message that grooms children for sexual abuse,” said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “It contains multiple scenes where a dog character must have its private parts inspected, in the course of which the dog is uncomfortable and wants to stop but is told to go to a ‘zen place.’ The dog is rewarded with advancing to the final round of the dog show after passing this barrier. Disturbingly, these are similar tactics child abusers use when grooming children—telling them to pretend they are somewhere else, and that they will get a reward for withstanding their discomfort. Children’s movies must be held to a higher standard, and must teach children bodily autonomy, the ability to say ‘no’ and safety, not confusing messages endorsing unwanted genital touching.”
Below is another explanation of the movie scenes, as posted online:
“Being that Max is new to competing, he needs to learn the process so his partner, Frank, along with a former show champion work to get him ready for the final round of the competition. Since the inspection of the private parts will happen in the finals, Frank touches Max’s private parts to get him use to it. Of course, Max doesn’t like it and snaps at Frank for him to stop. Max is then told by the former champion, who has been through the process before, that he needs to go to his ‘zen place’ while it happens so he can get through it. More attempts are made by Frank to touch Max’s private parts, but Max is still having trouble letting it happen and keeps snapping at him.
The day of the finals come and if Max doesn’t let his private parts be touched, he may lose the competition and any hope of finding the kidnapped panda. It all rests on his ability to let someone touch his private parts. The judge’s hands slowly reach behind Max and he goes to his ‘zen place’.”
“The National Center on Sexual Exploitation calls on Global Road Entertainment, the distribution company, to halt the distribution of Show Dogs in movie theaters and to recut the movie so that it no longer contains such unsafe themes,” Hawkins concluded.