Netflix is once again under fire for content that may be considered child pornography. The Parents Television and Media Council (PTC) is seeking legal action against the animated Netflix series “Big Mouth.”
The show has finished its fourth season and is rated TV-MA but depicts multiple sex acts involving middle school characters.
Please note that this article is for 18+ readers.
The PTC Takes Issue with Numerous Scenes
In their report, The Big Problem with Big Mouth, the PTC states, “Big Mouth is a TV-MA-rated series about middle schoolers. It depicts the genitals of 12 and 13-year-old children. It depicts 12 and 13-year-old children masturbating. It depicts 12 and 13-year-old children in sexual situations, engaging in sexual dialogue the likes of which the PTC has never documented on any television program or television distribution platform.”
The main scenes being questioned by the PTC display:
A minor offering to perform oral sex on his father
A minor exposing his genitals
A minor peeing on another minor in the shower
A minor penetrating another minor with his fingers
A child being held down as a penis is forced into his mouth
In reviewing the material, the PTC concludes that if the show is for mature audiences only then the depiction of underage minors engaging in sexual situations is nothing short of child porn. The President of PTC, Tim Winter, recently said, “I relish the chance to go into a courtroom, with Netflix as a defendant and the creators of this program for producing and distributing it as co-defendants.”
The Show’s Creator “Thought About” the Show's Issues
In 2017, the creator of the show, Andrew Goldberg, was asked about displaying pre-pubescent children’s genitals, and answered, “The question was asked, I think by [comedian] John Mulaney, on day one,” Goldberg said. "He's like, ‘Are we sure we're not doing child pornography?' And we really thought about it."
The creator wanted to create a show that adults could look back on and relate to.
Goldberg went on to discuss that he wanted to create a show that adults could look back on and relate to. He claims that puberty smashed him over the head, and he drew from his own experiences to display that awkwardness.
The REAL Issue Here
Goldberg’s definition of the show completely ignores the real issue. The sexualization of children in the media has been increasing for years. There was once a time when depicting sex between 16 year olds was considered taboo. It was argued that high schoolers engaged in sex and that these shows were just trying to be realistic, which is a pretty cheap argument given that nearly half of high school graduates are virgins when they receive their diploma.
But once underage sex between teenagers was normalized on TV, the age kept lowering. Now we’re witnessing big streaming platforms like Netflix defend and promote shows with actual middle-schoolers in hyper-sexualized roles. Their Cuties controversy didn’t stop them, despite many people canceling and boycotting their services.
Once underage sex between teenagers was normalized on TV, the age kept lowering.
They reportedly experienced an 800% drop in subscriptions, but that wasn’t enough for the company to remove the content. So if customer loyalty and loss of profits don’t deter Netflix from continuing to abuse children by offering shows that groom them and aid sexual predators, what will it take for the company to listen?
Legal Action May Be Necessary
The PTC is now calling on local, state, and federal law enforcement to take action against Netflix and the show to determine if child pornography laws have been broken. They also ask for criminal charges to be brought against Netflix for producing and distributing the show.
This would be a landmark case that draws a serious line between adult entertainment that portrays children and sexual depictions of minors on TV. Adult cartoons have been pushing the envelope for years under the guise that they’re just cartoons, but Tim Winter argues, “It doesn’t necessarily have to be live action in order to be pornographic. You know, there have been pornographic cartoons for decades, if not longer. So I truly believe that this reaches that level, and we intend to use the full force and credibility and weight of our grassroots membership around the country to push this out to law enforcement to see if, in fact, laws were broken.”
Adult cartoons have been pushing the envelope for years under the guise that they’re just cartoons.
Parents are also being asked to take an active role in guiding what their children watch on streaming media platforms. They are warned of dangerous content and the need for healthier viewing experiences.
How a show like this goes under the radar for so long is questionable. Has our society become so desensitized by the sexualization of minors in entertainment that shows like Big Mouth get a free pass? Or has the streaming industry flooded the market with so much content that parents can’t keep up?
Regardless of the answer, we need to be more conscious of what we’re exposing ourselves and our children to. If we don’t, who knows what will be normalized when content creators continue seeking fame by pushing the envelope even further?
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