GOP to Obama: You Cool With Netflix's Sexual Exploitation of Children?

AP Photo/Vincent Thian
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Former U.S. President Barack Obama smiles as he attends the “values-based leadership” during a plenary session of the Gathering of Rising Leaders in the Asia Pacific, organized by the Obama Foundation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

After Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) called for a DOJ investigation into the Netflix film “Cuties” and was summarily dismissed by many on the left for being a supporter of QAnon  — a charge that seemed to materialize out of thin air — Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) hit a little closer to target and outright asked progressive demigod Obama if he would condemn his business partner Netflix for promoting the sexual exploitation of children.

The Senator isn’t messing around.

It’s a more than fair question, especially since Obama — the father of two young women just moving into young adulthood — has a production company that produces original programming for Netflix. The name of that production company, given the circumstances, is very much worth noting: Higher Ground Productions.

When the deal with Netflix and the Obamas went through last year, the former president and Netflix’s chief content officer had this to say:

“We created Higher Ground to harness the power of storytelling,” Obama said of the inspirational projects which touch on a variety of issues including race, class, democracy, civil rights and much more. “That’s why we couldn’t be more excited about these projects.”

Speaking on behalf of Netflix, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said, “President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and the Higher Ground team are building a company focused on storytelling that exemplifies their core values. The breadth of their initial slate across series, film, documentary and family programming shows their commitment to diverse creators and unique voices that will resonate with our members around the world.”


Higher Ground didn’t produce “Cuties,” but it is worth wondering if Obama is comfortable with the platform he does business with promoting a story about prepubescent girls exploring their sexuality. Does his business partner’s choice of offerings also exemplify his core values?

It would be one thing if Netflix hadn’t admitted there’s a problem with at least some of the marketing of the film. But they have. They’ve apologized for it, in fact.

Netflix took note of the overwhelming criticism and issued an apology, stating that its intention was not to misrepresent the film in any way.

“We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Cuties,” the streaming giant said in an official statement. “It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which premiered at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description.”

Unfortunately for Netflix, the marketing in question did little more than show images of the young girls — how they were dressed and provocatively posed — from the actual film. What you see in that marketing is what you see in the film, evident by viewing the trailer alone.

So, is this the Higher Ground the Obamas were seeking when they signed their production deal with Netflix? It would be truly fascinating to hear what the former president, still hero to the progressive left, has to say about “Cuties” and his future as a partner with Netflix should they continue this kind of programming. Especially since — moral questions aside — it doesn’t seem like “Cuties” was a very good business move.


Cruz weighed in, too.


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