WE APPLAUD GLOBAL ROAD ENTERTAINMENT FOR PULLING THE CHILDREN’S FILM “SHOW DOGS” FROM THEATERS TO RE-CUT AND REMOVE SEXUALLY EXPLOITIVE SCENES.
The movie “Show Dogs” is a children’s movie about a detective dog who goes undercover at a dog show. Unfortunately, it also had a story line that normalizes unwanted genital touching and sends a troubling message that grooms children for sexual abuse. With 48 hours of concerned parents, experts, and activist groups exploding with complaints about the harm of this film on social media, the producers, Global Road Entertainment, pulled the film to recut it. We thank them for their swift action and for their integrity and responsibility in correcting this problem.
Please help us thank them, too!Thank you @imglobalfilm for pulling #ShowDogs to recut and remove the troubling scenes that were normalizing sexual abuse. We applaud corporate responsibility in today's #MeToo culture Click To Tweet
Letter from NCOSE to Global Road Entertainment:
Dear Mr. Friedman:
Thank you for taking swift action to recut the film Show Dogs in light of concerns that, as initially released, it contained themes which groom children for sexual abuse.
The crime of child sexual abuse is sadly a familiar one to the American public. Cases involving multiple victims, “celebrity perpetrators,” or perpetrators associated with positions of prestige and trust typically generate the most interest among the media and general public. For instance the cases of Jerry Sandusky, former assistant football coach at Pennsylvania State University, and Larry Nassar, former USA Gymnastics team doctor, ignited firestorms of outrage and recrimination.
In addition to these “sensational” stories, headlines from communities across the country supply of an unrelenting stream of child sex abuse cases perpetrated by adult family members, caregivers, teachers, coaches, clergy, and others. The regularity of these reports, demonstrate the systemic and intractable nature of child sexual abuse. Perversely, the regular flow of child sexual abuse stories also numbs the general public to the gravity of child sexual abuse, thus allowing the phenomenon to widen and deepen. Tragically, the rate of sexual abuse among U.S. and Canadian girls is estimated to be 20% and 8% among boys.[i] In contrast, the rate of autism among children is 1 in every 59.[ii]
Child sexual abuse flourishes, in part, because of the unprecedented levels of sexualization of children (e.g. children portrayed in sexualized ways, or exposure of children to adult sexual themes and behavior) across a wide spectrum of media.
Consequently, we were alarmed by scenes in the film Show Dogs which featured genital touching. Not only does the topic of genital touching in a children’s movie raise concerns, but those concerns were amplified by the arch of the narrative which tied permitting genital touching with the ability to rescue another character—a scenario fraught with themes of sextortion. Further, when the lead character successfully submitted to genital touching by going to a “zen” place as he had been coached, a scene of celebration ensued featuring the song “Time of My Life.” This
was immediately followed by a scene in which the song “I’m Sexy and I Know It” was played. This strongly conveyed the message that submitting to unwanted genital touching is fun and makes you sexy. Messages like this do not help stop child sexual abuse, but instead pave the way for the predatory behavior of people like Sandusky and Nassar.
While we are saddened that these concerns were not readily apparent to those involved in the production of Show Dogs, we applaud Global Road Entertainment for moving swiftly to recut and re-release the film. Thank you for recognizing the seriousness of the issues involved and taking responsibility to help protect children from harm. We look forward to seeing the new version, and trust the issues outlined above will be fully addressed.
As we are sure you agree, all boys, girls, women, and men have a natural human dignity, and thus a right to live lives free from sexual exploitation. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation exists to make society aware the web of sexual exploitation and equip individuals and families to overcome and protect against its harms. As you consider future film projects, we are happy to provide consultation services to guard against similar situations.
With appreciation for your efforts on behalf of a world free from sexual exploitation.
Patrick A. Trueman
President & Chief Executive Officer
[i] Marije Stoltenborgh, Marinus H. van Ijzendoorn, Eveline M. Euser, et al., “A Global Perspective on Child Sexual Abuse: Meta-Analysis of Prevalence around the World,” Child Maltreatment 16, no. 2 (2011): 79‒101. Doi: 10.1177/1077559511403920.
[ii] National Institute of Mental Health, “Autism Spectrum Disorder” National Institute of Health, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/autism-spectrum-disorder-asd.shtml (accessed May 24, 2018).