Global Road announced that a re-cut version of the PG-rated family film Show Dogs would be released over Memorial Day weekend. Numerous parenting blogs and organizations took issue with a subplot involving the lead undercover police dog, Max, as he was taught to become comfortable with strangers touching his genitals in preparation for an undercover dog show competition. In the film, Frank, Max's human partner played by Will Arnett, touches Max's private parts to get him used to what will occur at the dog show. Max did not like the experience and would regularly snap at his owner. Max was then told by a previous dog show champion that it would be an easier experience if he went to his "zen place" when it happened.
Parents and organizations alike were outraged by the troubling message, grooming children for sexual abuse and normalizing unwanted genital touching. Global Road Entertainment issued the following statement after receiving criticism following the movie's release:
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. We apologize to anybody who feels the original version of Show Dogs sent an inappropriate message.
According to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE), the re-cut version still normalizes and grooms children to normalize the touching of private parts by strangers. The film was not re-cut to the standards implied in the statement released by Global Road Entertainment.
Dawn Hawkins, the Executive Director of NCSE, released the following statement on Tuesday, May 29:
Global Road Entertainment has betrayed parents and endangered children by its failure to cut scenes normalizing genital touching from its children's movie. By sending the message to children that allowing genital touching by adults is rewarding and sexy, Show Dogs paves the way for child abusers... Children's movies must be held to a higher standard, and must teach children bodily autonomy, the ability to say 'no' and safety, not confusing messages endorsing genital touching.
With the current rate of sexual abuse among children in the United States estimated to be 20% for girls and 8% for boys, Show Dogs only supports abuse against children. Be advised, despite the PG-rating, this is not a film for children.