Parents objected to 'private parts' scenes in 'Show Dogs.' Movie execs actually listened.

Parents voiced concerns about a kids movie. And the studio distributing it ... listened.

Social media was blowing up with reviews of "Show Dogs" — for a disturbing reason. Reviewers and parents alike voiced concerns about whether the PG-rated kids' film "Show Dogs" was subtly conditioning kids to be groomed for sexual molestation. Yes, really.

Thanks to continuous feedback from people across the country and a candid statement from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, the movie executives decided to make a change. In a statement issued May 24, 2018, Global Road Entertainment states:


"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 company takes these matters very seriously and remains committed to providing quality entertainment for the intended audiences based on the film’s rating."

What started all the controversy?

In the film, an anthropomorphized police dog named Max (played by Ludacris) goes undercover at a dog show to gather intelligence on a crime. As part of the operation, he has to prepare to compete in a dog show.

Image via Show Dogs Movie/Twitter.

One of the requirements of the show is an "inspection" of a dog's "private parts" by the judges. While rehearsing for this part of the show, Max is uncomfortable and says so. His trainers coach him on how to go to a "happy/zen" place while it's happening so that he can get through it. He resists at first, but by the time the show comes around — with everything riding on his ability to get through the inspection — he successfully disassociates from the fondling as viewers get a look at his happy place.  

Um, yeah. That's problematic.

Parents and child advocacy groups alike voiced their concerns over the scenes.

Terina Maldonado at Macaroni Kid wrote, "During the movie, I kept thinking, 'This is wrong, it doesn't need to be in a kids movie. Everything else in the movie is good fun except for this.' Afterward, my husband mentioned that he picked up on this message too, as did my mother who saw the movie with us. My daughter, on the other hand, said her favorite part of the movie was when Max got his privates touched and the funny reaction he had."

And therein lies the problem. It's not that kids will recognize that there's a problem with the scenes — it's that they won't. They'll giggle about how it's uncomfortable to have your privates touched, and then get the message that "going to happy place" is a good way to deal with that discomfort.

Dawn Hawkins, executive director for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation spoke up about the film. "The movie 'Show Dogs' sends a troubling message that grooms children for sexual abuse," she said in a statement. "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."

Initially, the movie makers released a lukewarm apology statement that led many to believe they didn't really see the problem.

The original statement released by the filmmakers read, "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 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."

It has come to our attention that there have been online discussion and concern about a particular scene in Show Dogs, a...

Posted by Show Dogs Movie on Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Their initial response was not an apology nor did it take accountability; however, they did seem to step back, realize the merit of these concerns, and take action.

While their eventual response was to take action, it remains concerning that it wasn't caught or changed sooner. In the age of #MeToo, where sexual assault has been a hot topic of conversation and education, it's unfathomable that no one in the final production of this film would have recognized the issue or pointed it out before the film's release.

Update 5/24/2018: This post was updated to reflect new action taken by the movie distributor that took place after original publication.

Most Shared

Anyone who has spent a day in a classroom knows that teachers—especially teachers of young kids—are superhuman superheroes. And any parent who has spent a day outside of a classroom trying to wrangle a group of young kids through a field trip would describe teachers in even stronger language than that.

That's what dad blogger Clint Edwards of No Idea What I'm Doing: A Daddy Blog discovered on a recent trip to a pumpkin patch with his daughter's kindergarten class. The father of three and author of a new book, "Silence is a Scary Sound: And Other Stories on Living Through the Terrible Twos and Threes," penned a tribute to teachers everywhere that has gone viral for the hilariously real truth it describes.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Healthcare dominated much of the Democratic debates this week, and for good reason. Multiple polls show that healthcare remains Americans' top concern.

My teenage daughter recently had some blood work done, and the total cost was more than $1000. After insurance, we have the honor of paying $200. For blood work. For nothing to be wrong.

Was the lab testing her blood with gold and platinum? Were they sending it to space and back? I mean seriously, how on earth could blood tests cost $1000?

Meanwhile, in other countries, we have people giving birth, having surgeries, fixing broken bones, as well as basic blood work, for no out of pocket cost whatsoever.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

A tiger who was injured in a poacher's trap will be given a prosthetic paw in the first operation of its kind.

The seven-year-old cat named Sahebrao was rescued in the Chandrapur district of India in 2012 and was relocated to the Wildlife Rescue Center at the Gorewada Zoo in Nagpur. He later developed gangrene and had to have part of his left leg amputated, according to The Indian Express.

For last six years, Sahebrao has been living with increasing pain. Determined to help the animal, Sushrut Babhulkar, a Nagpur-based orthopedic surgeon, adopted the cat and has been working with experts, including Dr. Peter Giannoudis from the University of Leeds in the U.K., to explore the possibility of creating an artificial limb.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Pixabay

In today's episode of WTH, professional accounting services firm Ernst & Young has taken gender dynamics in the workplace to a whole new level. And by whole new level, I mean totally batsh*t backwards.

An anonymous former employee sent a 55-page Power-Presence-Purpose (PPP) presentation to HuffPost, detailing a self-improvement training offered to employees last year. According to "Jane," who has since left the company, the presentation was demeaning to women and left her feeling like a piece of meat.

Keep Reading Show less
popular