“Show Dogs” Edited to Remove Terrible Message About Abuse

Posted on May 24, 2018 at 3:01 pm

“Show Dogs” is a movie about a cop and a talking dog who go undercover at a dog show.  It has a nice message about not jumping to conclusions about others (whether dogs or people) based on prejudice or superficial factors.  But many parents complained about another message as well, unintentional, but disturbing, and the movie is being re-cut and re-issued.

You can get a sense of the problem in the trailer.

I’m sure it was supposed to be funny that the cop dog voiced by Chris “Ludacris” Bridges has to submit to a physical exam when he is undercover as a show dog. But the filmmakers showed very poor judgement at best in making it into an extended “comic” bit, where he is repeatedly told to accept examination of his private parts and “go to his zen place.”  The film’s production company has agreed to remove those scenes and the movie will be returned to theaters without them.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation said the movie “sends a troubling message that grooms children for sexual abuse…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 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. 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.”

Clearly, this was the right decision, and we hope it will make studios more sensitive to these issues in the future.

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