ew release Show Dogs has been getting social media attention this week, but not in the way directors had hoped for. Parents and campaign groups have rallied online to criticise the new blockbuster for themes which normalise grooming and abuse.
The movie follows Max, a police Rottweiler, as he goes undercover to infiltrate a prestigious dog show. His goal is to crack the biggest case of his career and rescue the stolen panda. However, as part of the competition, Max has to endure intimate examinations. In order to succeed in his mission, Max is encouraged to go to ‘his happy place’ while being touched.
Cute dogs and talking animals sounds like a winning formula, but the portrayal of intimate touching in a kids film has been widely condemned. People took to Twitter to challenge the creators of the movie:
Completely disgusted by @Ludacris and @arnettwill movie #ShowDogs. The message to go to a happy place while someone molests you is absolutely the worst thing ever in a kids movie. You 2 should be ashamed of yourselves.
— Allison Creamer (@CreamerAllison) 21 May 2018
The actors in the movie #ShowDogs should be ashamed. I've lost some respect for @fluffyguy and @SHAQ for being involved with a movie aimed at kids that attempts to indoctrinate them to pedophilic #grooming. #ShameOnYou— Steve Brantley (@loganrollo) May 21, 2018
Criticism was not confined to social media, as The National Center on Sexual Exploitation, issued a statement earlier in the week claiming that the Show Dogs movie "Sends a troubling message that grooms children for sexual abuse."
The online reaction has been so strong that Global Road Entertainment, the team behind the film, issued an apology on Thursday. The filmmakers apologised “to anybody who feels the original version of Show Dogs sent an inappropriate message.” They further stated that they take these matters very seriously and will be re-editing the movie to remove inappropriate scenes.
The newly edited film should be available in cinemas at the weekend, but the bad feeling surrounding this release will undoubtedly impact ticket sales.