The Netflix movie Desire is causing controversy over its alleged portrayal of 9-year-old girls in a sexual manner. Timothy F. Winter, president of the Parents Television Council, addressed the concerns in an open letter to Netflix's CEO, Reed Hastings, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The letter from Winter describes the offensive scene in detail.
"[Two young girls] watching a western on television and are pretending their pillows are horses... The older girl begins to obviously masturbate as the younger child watches. The camera even takes this scene into a closeup of the child's face in slow motion, moving up and down and panting like a porn star."Winter then goes on to ask Hastings, "Does the Netflix brand stand for the distribution of nine year old girls masturbating? The answer is yes or no; there is no other choice here."
Meanwhile, the director of the movie, Diego Kaplan, is defending the scene. He said that "before being a director comes being a father." He admitted that he knew that the scene would be controversial later, saying that they were sure to include a "Making Of" footage to clarify how everything went down.
Supposedly, the scene was filmed using a "trick" where the "girls were copying a cowboy scene from a film by John Ford. The girls never understood what they were doing, they were just copying what they were seeing on the screen."Kaplan also clarified that the girls' mothers were present during filming, and no adult was involved in the making of the scene.
But perhaps what Winter is pointing to, along with concerned parents, is that it's not so much that the young actresses didn't know what they were depicting. But rather, the issue is that the movie is showing young girls in such a sexual manner to begin with.
Twitter users reacted with disgust, with many threatening to cancel their subscriptions unless the movie is removed from the site. One user said, "Holy crap @netflix! You have a freakin movie that has ACTUAL CHILD PORN in it?! You freakin suck. Bout to lose membership." Another said that "The offensive scene in Desire is unnecessary. The depravity is in making a private experience into a public spectacle for profit and lewd intentions."
For whatever reason, Netflix has yet to release a statement about the movie. Nor have they responded to the media's requests for comments. It's uncertain now what the outcome will be, but for now, it appears that parents and Netflix subscribers are becoming increasingly upset over Desire still streaming on the platform.
Netflix reportedly plans to spend $8 billion this year on original content for the site.