There’s a new movie out in theatres called “Show Dogs.”
It’s a kid’s film about a detective dog that goes undercover in order to sneak into a prestigious dog show so that he and his partner can crack the case of a panda that has been kidnapped.
While it seems like the perfect comedy for the whole family to enjoy, the movie itself is now at the center of a national debate about child sexual abuse.
The production company is apologizing for a scene in which the lead dog gets his private area inspected by dog show judges, something he says, makes him feel uncomfortable.
The dog gets through it, by allowing his mind to go to a different place. When the touching is over, he gets a reward.
Critics are saying that these actions mirror the way a sexual predator would try to groom children. Parents and organizations are saying that certain scenes in the movie send a wrong message to children that it’s “OK” to be touched in places that are uncomfortable.
An example of this is portrayed when the dog puts his mind in another placing during the touching and then gets rewarded afterward.
The backlash has actually prompted the film-makers to delete the scenes and re-cut the movie.
6 News talked with Dr. Megan Maas, MSU professor in Human Development and Family Studies who gave her expert opinion on the issue.
“The fact that the dog has to go to its happy place, which is a form of dissociation, and sexual abuse survivors often dissociate while being abused as a way to help them cope with that trauma,” Dr. Maas said. “At its worst, we could associate it with abuse, right? But I don’t think that it is that extreme or has to be considered that extreme.”
Dr. Maas said that while she understands the concerns with movie, she believes parents should use it as an opportunity to have a conversation with their children both before and after watching something like it.
“Certainly if you aren’t talking about these issues already, if you’ve never had a conversation with your child about the proper name for their genitalia, what’s a private part, what’s good touch and bad touch, then this movie unfortunately would give your child the opportunity to interpret it in any way they would without your input ahead of time,” she said.
In a statement, the production company, Global Road Entertainment, said it was only trying to portray what really happens in dog shows.
It not only apologized for the way the scenes are being interpreted, but also removed them from the film.
The company says a revised version of the movie will be available for viewing nationwide starting this weekend.