May 29, 2018 Statement by Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of NCOSE
Washington, DC – The movie Show Dogs—currently in theaters—is a children’s film about an anthropomorphized dog detective who goes undercover at a dog show. The film includes a significant story arc normalizing genital touching to child audiences. After receiving a firestorm of criticism last week about these scenes, Global Road Entertainment recut the film and re-released it in time for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation today screened the film again and is dismayed that the sexually exploitive narrative and scenes of genital touching remain in the movie. We strongly advise the parents and caregivers to not take children to this film.
“Global Road Entertainment has betrayed parents and endangered children by its failure to cut scenes normalizing genital touching from its children’s movie. By sending the message to children that allowing genital touching by adults is rewarding and sexy, Show Dogs paves the way for child abusers,” said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.
“The public took in good faith Global Road Entertainment’s move to recut Show Dogs to make it appropriate for children. However genital touching of the lead dog character remains a pivotal aspect of the film’s narrative. Apparently, having the film back in theatres in time for the Memorial Day holiday box office was more important than protecting children. As a result, we strongly recommend parents to cut Show Dogs from their summer movie going list,” Hawkins added.
“Even after undergoing a so-called recut, scenes in which a dog must have his private parts touched remain. In the course of the genital touching, the dog is uncomfortable and wants it to stop but is told to go to a ‘happy place’ because submitting to genital touching is an essential element of winning the dog show,” Hawkins continued. “Later, in a climactic moment at the dog show, the dog submits to genital touching and is rewarded with advancing to the final round of the competition. This achievement is celebrated to the tune of “Sexy and I Know It.”
“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 genital touching. The rate of sexual abuse among U.S. children is already estimated to be 20% for girls and 8% for boys. Show Dogs has thrown another log on that fire. In an industry riddled with sexual harassment and abuse scandals perpetrated against both children and adults, Show Dogs is prime evidence of how Hollywood fosters #KidsToo.”
“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 further cut the movie so that it no longer contains such unsafe themes,” Hawkins concluded.