The new film Show Dogs — which stars Ludacris as the voice of a talking police dog named Max who has to infiltrate a prestigious dog show — is causing concern among parents for a subplot which involves Max becoming comfortable with strangers touching his genitals.
In the PG-rated film, Max must learn how to perform well as a show dog, which includes behaving during the “inspection” by the show judges — a plot line that critics have likened to sexual predators “grooming” children to become comfortable with inappropriate touching.
In a post on the blog For Every Mom, writer Jenny Rapson said, “Max’s success is riding on whether or not he lets both his partner (for practice) and a stranger (the competition judge) touch his private parts. Newsflash, folks: THIS IS CALLED GROOMING and it’s what sexual predators do to kids!”
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation, the group previously known as Morality in Media, also condemned the film.
The filmmakers responded to the concerns with a statement: “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.”
The film’s producers have agreed to edit out the controversial scenes.