The controversial kid’s movie Show Dogs was pulled from theaters last week after parents sounded the alarm about inappropriate sexual content in its storyline, and the production company promising to edit out the scenes.
But as it turns out, that’s not exactly what’s happened.
Global Road Entertainment faced harsh criticism for including scenes in which the movie’s main canine character, Max, is required to have his genitals touched as part of the dog show requirements. Though he balks at the practice, Max is coached to go to his “zen place”—which he eventually does, despite his hesitations.
It sounded a lot like “grooming” to many concerned viewers—a practice sexual abusers use to convince their victims the abuse they’re suffering is fine, and something they simply need to endure.
Not hard to see why parents were disgusted, right?
The production company pulled the film from theaters last week to re-cut the movie, saying it had “decided to remove two scenes from the film ‘Show Dogs’ that some have deemed not appropriate for children.”
Turns out the scenes haven’t been removed at all—they’ve been edited, and the underlying message of compliance with unwanted fondling remains.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is an anti-pornography organization at the forefront of the Show Dogs controversy. In a statement following the movie’s re-release, NCOSE executive director Dawn Hawkins said:
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.
Not exactly the resolution parents were hoping for. Hawkins continues:
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.
Now parents and concerned groups like the NCOSE are once again calling for the removal of the film’s sexual content, but so far, there appears to be no plans to do so.