The founder of Movieguide, a top film-rating organization in Hollywood, is joining a growing call for a boycott of two new movies that feature pedophilia, warning of the dangers that come with themes involving sex with children.
“These despicable movies promote pedophilia, whether intentionally or unintentionally,” said Ted Baehr, who’s well known for his Christian Film & Television Commission work. “There should be a massive public outcry against them. The inclusion of children in sexually explicit films is inappropriate. There also is no excuse for the authorities to allow such material to be shown publicly.”
Baehr cited “Hounddog,” a movie featuring a scene portraying the rape of actress Dakota Fanning, filmed when she was 12, and “Towelhead,” which features 18-year-old actress Summer Bishil playing a 13-year-old Arab-American girl who portrays a “sexual obsession,” experiences “grooming” and other scenes.
“We’ve got to have communities rescue these children. Where’s the sense of shame, outrage, the sense of saying, ‘We’re not going to let this happen,” Baehr told WND. “We cannot do this anymore.”
“The thing we need to do is avoid it,” he said. “These people need to be stopped.”
Dakota Fanning in the controversial “Hounddog” film that features a child-rape scene
Baehr is joined in the boycott call by a pro-family organization in North Carolina, the state where much of the “Hounddog” movie featuring Fanning’s “rape” was filmed.
Under the headline “Child Pornography is Going Mainstream,” on the website of the Concerned Women for America, Donna Miller, a chapter leader in the Fayetteville, N.C., area and director of the No More Child Porn Campaign, also said those who are concerned by the film’s representation by Fanning of “a 9-year-old that is raped by a man in his late teens, after he tricks her into dancing naked,” should protest to authorities.
“Our concern is that this film would say to other children that this behavior is acceptable. As taxpayers here in North Carolina, we’re not happy about this,” Miller said.
She suggested several actions, including contacting U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey and the Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, 20530 or 202-353-1555.
“Tell him that you have grave concerns that this film, with its visual representation of a child engaging in sexually suggestive behaviors and being sexually assaulted, opens the door for child pornography to be mainstreamed into the entertainment industry,” she suggested.
She said people also should contact their local theaters and ask them not to show the film, set for release tomorrow.
Miller said her group asked for an investigation into the production of the movie earlier this summer after learning North Carolina taxpayers contributed $387,000 to the film’s expenses.
“It’s shocking that the state of North Carolina paid almost $400,000 in taxpayer credits for this movie,” Baehr told WND. “I can’t imagine the people of North Carolina want to pay out of their hard-earned tax dollars during an economic downturn money for a 21-year-old man to rape a 12-year-old girl.”
Miller said she just wanted to make the public aware of the “mainstreaming of child pornography that is being achieved through the release of this movie.”
Deborah Kampmeier, writer and director, explained in the film’s press kit about Fanning, “She is simply and innocently experiencing and relishing the aliveness of her being, the life force pulsing through her body, celebrating the power and creative force of her sexuality that is her birthright.”
“This movie is about a nine-year-old girl, not an adult woman. She should be outside skipping rope or riding her bike, not ‘celebrating the power and creative force of her sexuality,’” Miller said.
Baehr was more direct.
“For this gruesome director who has wallowed in perversion to say this is the child exploring her sexuality is insane. It’s worse than insane. A child of that age doesn’t understand the consequences,” he said.
The movie triggered a furor at the Sundance Festival last year because of the scene depicting a rape of Fanning.
Others who have raised objections to the movie have included, according to Miller, radio and TV host Sean Hannity, Judicial Watch founder Larry Klayman and the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue.
Kampmeier already had a reputation for controversial scenes, depicting a young girl who is raped but doesn’t remember the attack and believes she is carrying the Christ child in her earlier work, “Virgin.”
Although there was little interest in the distribution of “Hounddog” initially, it eventually was picked up by Empire Film Group. Spokesman Dean Hamilton-Bornstein called it a “coming-of-age drama that deals with serious issues that should resonate with audiences.”
After its Sundance screening, Rex Gore, the district attorney in Bolivia, N.C., near where much of the movie was filmed, issued a statement to WND that
he found “no violation” of the state’s obscenity or sexual exploitation laws.
He said the movie was saved by its “artistic value.”
“I am aware that there is an outcry from some who find the content of the film disturbing and distasteful. However, public opinion is not the test we
must apply as prosecutors; we must apply the law. North Carolina’s child exploitation statutes do not apply because none of the acts depicted in the
film meet the legal definition of ‘sexual activity’ under our current law,” Gore said at the time.
Baehr didn’t hesitate to respond.
“For the state attorney to even suggest that this was art is absolutely insane. He should take a course in art,” he said.
Dakota Fanning appearing in “Charlotte’s Web”
Carla Roberts, who runs the Yahweh Center Children’s Village for abused or neglected children in
Wilmington, N.C., near where the filming took place, told WND at the time she would have to wonder about the adults responsible for putting a child
in such a position.
The “Hounddog” script revealed the Fanning character’s clothes
dropping to the floor before she sings and an assailant unzipping his jeans.
World Entertainment News Network was one of the first to comment on the scene, calling it a shocker for Fanning’s fans.
“She has shot child rape scenes and appears semi-naked,” the network said.
Fanning’s behavior has been described as more explicit than what was required of Jodie Foster, who as a 12-year-old played a prostitute in “Taxi
Driver,” a 1976 Martin Scorsese production, or Brooke Shields, who was a New Orleans brothel worker in the “Pretty Baby” movie from 1978.
Baehr warned that unless the growing attack on those with faith and values is defeated, America soon will follow the course of other societies that have descended to the point of promoting sexual activity with children.
“We have to say, ‘No, we cannot have a society that is destroying children,’” he said.
“There are things that are happening today that are not as egregious as [in the days of] Nero and Caligula, but they are pushing the envelope in some ways even further,” Baehr said. “History says that it was before the days of Noah when [society] last saw something on this order.”
“Towelhead,” directed by Alan Ball, is about “a young Arab-American girl [who] struggles with her sexual obsession.” The character “navigates the confusing and frightening path of adolescence and her own sexual awakening,” according to a promotional synopsis.
The Los Angeles Times’ review said the movie includes a “discomforting anatomical ‘grooming’ incident between Jasira and the mother’s sleazy boyfriend.”
Blogger Steven Pill said it appears that the public is making its statement already.
“I received a somewhat rueful message of congratulations from Eric Parkinson, the CEO of distribution for Empire Film Group,” he wrote recently. “According to him, more than 200 theaters across the country had cancelled their scheduled screenings of the motion picture ‘Hounddog,’ citing pressure from ‘vocal groups.’”