Show Dogs is a 2018 USA comedy by Raja Gosnell.
Starring Stanley Tucci, Natasha Lyonne and Will Arnett.
Max, a macho, solitary Rottweiler police dog is ordered to go undercover as a primped show dog in a prestigious Dog Show, along with his human partner, to avert a disaster from happening.
The studio behind new family comedy Show Dogs has agreed to a last-minute edit in response to morality groups and bloggers claiming that the film might suggest to children that sexual molestation is something that should be silently endured.
Global Road Entertainment have now confirmed they would be cutting two scenes that some have deemed not appropriate for children. The scenes in question are thought to involve Max, a police rottweiler who has his genitals groped by cop Will Arnett
as part of his training to go undercover at dog shows. Initially, Max is upset by the intrusion, but is instructed to go to a zen place. Global Road said:
The company takes these matters very seriously and remains committed to providing quality entertainment for the intended audiences based on the film's rating. We apologise to anybody who feels the original version of Show Dogs sent an
inappropriate message. The revised version of the film will be available for viewing nationwide starting this weekend.
In the US, Morality in the Media, now going by the name National Center on Sexual Exploitation, flagged the film for the similarity of tactics used with Max and abusers grooming children, telling them to pretend they are somewhere else and that
they will get a reward for withstanding the discomfort.
In the UK, the film was seen by the BBFC some weeks ago and was passed PG uncut. The UK and Irish distributors intend to stick with the BBFC/IFCO approved uncut version. A spokesman for Entertainment One said:
We are taking the BBFC/IFCO guidance on this matter in the UK and Ireland and will be releasing the original version that has been censored and reviewed.
The BBFC said in a statement that:
The scenes in question are entirely innocent and non-sexual and occur within the clear context of preparation for and judging in a dog show. We regard the comments made about the film as suggesting 'grooming' as a misinterpretation of the scenes
Meanwhile in New Zealand, Chief Censor David Shanks made the unusual decision to call the film in for review following a number of complaints. Normally, films rated G or PG arrive in New Zealand without requiring a localised classification. Shanks
said in a statement:
We understand the film's distributors are currently re-editing this film in response to public concern. We can confirm that the version distributed in New Zealand will be classified, regardless of any edits made prior to release, the office said
in a statement.
Open Letter to Australian Cinemas: Don't screen Show Dogs movie
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.