We are writing to you in regards to the children’s film Show Dogs, due for release 5 July. Upon its release in the US, it attracted substantial criticism from parents and child advocates over concerns of “grooming” children for sexual abuse.
The film tells the story of a police dog going undercover at a dog show. There are reportedly several scenes in which the dog, Max, has to have his genitals inspected. When he is uncomfortable and wants to stop he is told to go to a ‘zen place’. When he submits and allows his genitals to be touched, he is rewarded by advancing to the next level of the show.
In response to the global backlash, the production company withdrew the film, promising to re-cut it to remove the scenes in question. The film has been re-released, however the scenes remain, with only the encouragement to ‘go to a zen place’ (essentially, to dissociate) being removed. The meaning remains intact, that unwanted sexual touching is to be endured and may be rewarded.
The film sends a disturbing and dangerous message to children about sexual touching. In Australia, one in five children are thought to be victims of sexual abuse. This film undermines efforts in prevention and education to address the scourge of child sexual abuse.
Collective Shout: for a world free from sexploitation is calling on Australian cinemas to take a stand against child sexual abuse and refuse to screen the film. We hope that cinemas will be prepared to take a role of leadership in the community, to stand up for the rights of children and refuse to profit from this film.
Contact your local cinema and ask them not to screen the film.