The producers of an upcoming family film have responded to growing pressure from concerned parents by cutting two controversial scenes from the motion picture.
“Show Dogs” is set to premier in theaters this weekend, but will do so sans scenes that have caused controversy since the clips surfaced in recent days.
The controversy is rooted in the portrayal of the main character’s examination by judges during dog shows.
Max, the canine voiced by rapper and actor Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges, is reportedly confronted in the movie with the reality that he will have his genitals touched during the competition.
The manner in which the issue is addressed in the script, some critics say, is wholly inappropriate for young audiences. Others have gone as far as to accuse the film of attempting to groom children for sexual abuse and exploitation.
According to a statement by the executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation:
It contains multiple scenes where a dog character must have its private parts inspected, in the course of which the dog is uncomfortable and wants to stop but is told to go to a ‘zen place,'” the statement read. “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.
An initial statement by the executives behind the film included an apology and an attempted explanation of the subject matter, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“It has come to our attention that there have been online discussion and concern about a particular scene in ‘Show Dogs,’ a family comedy that is rated PG,” the statement read. “The dog show judging in this film is depicted completely accurately as done at shows around the world; and was performed by professional and highly respected dog show judges. Global Road Entertainment and the filmmakers are saddened and apologize to any parent who feels the scene sends a message other than a comedic moment in the film, with no hidden or ulterior meaning, but respect their right to react to any piece of content.”
Vanity Fair published a subsequent response from Global Road Entertainment, which read in part that producers have “decided to remove two scenes from the film SHOW DOGS that some have deemed not appropriate for children.”
[Featured image: AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File]