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‘Show Dogs’ to remove scenes after accusations that movie ‘grooms children for sexual abuse’

Natasha Lyonne and Will Arnett co-star in "Show Dogs." Global Road Entertainment announced it will cut two scenes from the film after parents and child advocacy groups said they could potentially help groom children for sexual abuse. (Adrian Rogers / The Spokesman-Review)
Natasha Lyonne and Will Arnett co-star in "Show Dogs." Global Road Entertainment announced it will cut two scenes from the film after parents and child advocacy groups said they could potentially help groom children for sexual abuse. (Adrian Rogers / The Spokesman-Review)
Tribune News Service

NEW YORK – “Show Dogs” is making some edits after allegations that the kids movie promoted a harmful message about sexual abuse.

“Responding to concerns raised by moviegoers and some specific organizations, Global Road Entertainment has decided to remove two scenes from the film ‘Show Dogs’ that some have deemed not appropriate for children,” the distribution company said in a statement to the New York Daily News Wednesday.

“The company takes these matters very seriously and remains committed to providing quality entertainment for the intended audiences based on the film’s rating. We apologize to anybody who feels the original version of ‘Show Dogs’ sent an inappropriate message. The revised version of the film will be available for viewing nationwide starting this weekend.”

“Show Dogs,” starring Will Arnett, Ludacris, Natasha Lyonne, Jordin Sparks, Gabriel Iglesias, Alan Cumming and Stanley Tucci, features a minor plot about Max, the Rottweiler police dog who goes undercover at a dog show, learning to undergo an exam of his genitals by going to a “zen place.”

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation said the movie “grooms children for sexual abuse.”

“The dog is rewarded with advancing to the final round of the dog show after passing this barrier. Disturbingly, these are similar tactics child abusers use when grooming children – telling them to pretend they are somewhere else, and that they will get a reward for withstanding their discomfort,” the group said in a statement Tuesday.

“Children’s movies must be held to a higher standard, and must teach children bodily autonomy, the ability to say ‘no’ and safety, not confusing messages endorsing unwanted genital touching.”

Lauren’s Kids, a nonprofit that aims to educate “adults and children about sexual abuse prevention through in-school curricula, awareness campaigns and speaking engagements around the country and the world,” urged families to skip the movie.

“As parents, we know the influence media has on children. Our kids pick up behaviors and understandings from movies, YouTube videos and TV shows. Their minds constantly absorb the content with little to no understanding of the context. In this case, it’s OK if someone touches your private parts because it’s part of the ‘show’ and it’s just silly fun,” founder Lauren Book said in a statement to the Daily News.

“But it’s actually called grooming and is (a) frequent tactic used by predators to keep victims quiet, questioning their fear.”

At the time, the filmmakers denied there was any “hidden or ulterior meaning” to the plot.

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