The indictment was filed September 23 in Tyler County but was shared Tuesday on Twitter by Republican state Representative Matt Schaefer. It accuses Netflix of knowingly promoting visual material that depicts "lewd exhibition" of the genitals or pubic area of a clothed or partially clothed child who was under 18 when the content was created. Further, the prosecution alleges that the material "appeals to the prurient interest in sex and has no serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value."
Netflix received a storm of criticism for streaming 'Cuties' last month. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) called the film "child porn" that would "whet the appetite of pedophiles and fuel the child sex-trafficking trade."
While Netflix likely expected some public backlash over the movie – a boycott campaign to cancel subscriptions wiped out $8 billion of the firm's market value as a publicly traded company in two days – it probably wasn't counting on criminal prosecution.
"I didn't think anyone would have the balls to do it," journalist Cassandra Fairbanks said of the indictment. "We don't take kindly to that sort of foolishness here in Texas," said one Twitter user. "Almost like their DA hasn't been bought off by Soros yet," tweeted another.
Among the reactions on Twitter was a suggestion that Netflix's assets should be seized as penalty, or that some of its executives be indicted and sent to prison. Some observers said the indictment should be dismissed for violating free-speech rights, however, while others smelled hypocrisy, arguing that "actual child pageants" deserve the same scrutiny.