When it rains, it pours.
A few weeks back, Netflix, which readers may know is the world’s largest streaming service, promoted the movie “Cuties” (“Mignonnes”) with a poster only perverts could love. It led to a massive uproar on social media and talk radio, for sure. Now that “Cuties” has debuted on the service, along with clips of it that show that it could have been used as bait for that old, “To Catch A Predator” program, the controversy has only gotten more intense. That’s prompted stories that claim Netflix has lost billions of dollars — and many subscribers — over the decision to air the thing. More on that later.
Of course, it doesn’t help that this happened in the wake of the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking scandal exploding across the airwaves. The only positive thing in that mess of a story, despite the fact that Ghislaine Maxwell hasn’t started naming names yet, and Epstein either did or didn’t kill himself — whatever your opinion on the situation, the convicted sexual predator’s not around to exploit underage girls anymore.
But if Netflix seemed to be in the proverbial hot water before, now that water’s set to boil, it appears. Jerry Harris, a prominent cast member on Netflix docuseries “Cheer,” a show that began in January, about a Texas-based college’s cheerleading team’s quest to win a national title, is now under FBI investigation for allegedly soliciting minors, according to USA Today:
“The FBI is investigating allegations that celebrity cheerleader Jerry Harris solicited sexually explicit photos and sex from minors, multiple sources told USA TODAY. Agents executed a search warrant Monday afternoon at a home in Naperville, Illinois, as part of that investigation.
“The FBI is conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity in the area,” Siobhan Johnson, FBI special agent and public affairs officer, told USA TODAY. She declined further comment.
Harris, who gained national prominence when he was featured in Netflix’s “Cheer” docuseries, has not been criminally charged.
The investigation was spurred by allegations reported by Varsity Brands, which USA Today describes as “a private company that dominates the cheerleading industry and handles everything from uniform sales to major competitions.”
In Aug. 1 letters to police in Florida and Texas, Varsity’s chief legal officer, Burton Brillhart, said the company learned of “inappropriate sexual conduct” allegations against Harris and reported the information to authorities as required by law.
“As a result of the recent allegation, we have barred this person from having any affiliation with Varsity Brands or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, now and in the future,” he wrote.
But where does all of this leave Netflix? As my colleague Brandon Morse wrote in a VIP piece today, only time will tell if the negative press attention and cancellations it’s gotten from “Cuties” — and now this — will affect the streaming giant’s bottom line. (Reminder: if you aren’t a RedState VIP subscriber yet, now is a great time to sign up! Use my promo code: BECCA when you sign up for a cool discount at the link above.)
Watch as Jerry Harris appears to lose his mind, in this clip about another “Cheer” coach joining the cast of the new season of Dancing With the Stars”: