“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 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 apologize 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.”
The undercover police dog Max is voiced by Ludacris. In the two scenes, Max is advised by a former champion dog to go to his “zen place” in order to get through the dog show’s genital inspection.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation accused the movie of sending a troubling message that grooms children for sexual abuse.
“It contains multiple scenes where a dog character must have its private parts inspected, in the course of which the dog is uncomfortable and wants to stop but is told to go to a ‘zen place,’” the group said. “The dog is rewarded with advancing to the final round of the dog show after passing this barrier. Disturbingly, these are similar tactics child abusers use when grooming children—telling them to pretend they are somewhere else, and that they will get a reward for withstanding their discomfort. 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 unwanted genital touching.”
“Show Dogs” is directed by Raja Gosnell and stars Will Arnett, Natasha Lyonne, Jordin Sparks, Gabriel Iglesias, Shaquille O’Neal, Omar Chaparro, and Stanley Tucci. The film follows a Rottweiler police dog and his human partner (played by Arnett) who go undercover at a dog show to stop an animal smuggling activity.
The film generated moderate grosses in its opening weekend with $6 million at 3,212 North American sites on May 18-20. The news about the scenes being removed was first reported by Deadline.