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'Desire' Director Defends Using Children for Sex Scene on Netflix

Diego Kaplan, who directed the film Desire, available on Netflix, is defending his choice to depict a child masturbating in the filmIn a statement published at Variety, Kaplan defended the scene, comparing it to a shark attack.

No, really.

"Despair is a film," he said. "When we see a shark eating a woman on film, no one thinks the woman really died or that the shark was real."

Really? The main problem with this is that there are no laws against filming shark attacks or pretending to be attacked by a shark. There are very serious laws, however, about NOT FILMING CHILDREN IN A SEXUAL SITUATION or depicting them as doing so. No one claimed that the children were actually sexually assaulted while making the scene (although I believe it is abusive to portray them in such an exploitive way) or that the child in question was having an actual orgasm. She was, however, depicted as having an orgasm (quite a long, drawn-out one with slow motion and sexualized panting like a porn actor). But the mere depiction of this appears to violate the law. Whether Kaplan's intent was to break the law or not, he is still subject to it. Further, Netflix is responsible for what they stream online. They should have lawyers who tell them not to engage in anything that could even look like child porn.

When I contacted the Department of Justice and asked for clarification on the law, they responded by sending a copy of the statute that, to me, makes it clear that depicting a child masturbating is a crime. As I read the statute, the child does not have to be actually masturbating. Just the idea of it transmitted on film seems to be the legal definition of child porn.

Nicole Navas Oxman, a spokesperson for the DOJ, described child porn:

"As to what constitutes child pornography, that is defined in 18 USC 2256 in relevant part as a visual depiction of an individual under the age of 18 engaged in actual or simulated sexually explicit conduct, which is defined as sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal; bestiality;  masturbation; sadistic or masochistic abuse; or the lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of any person," she said. [Emphasis added]

Actual OR simulated, Mr. Kaplan! You have admitted that you made a visual depiction of a minor child simulating masturbation. I think that is a crime in the United States, and if there is any justice at all you will be held accountable for it. At times like this we must ask ourselves if our laws mean anything. Here we have a person who has defended his choice to apparently violate our child protection laws. Will he see justice? Or will our law enforcement turn its back because he is a powerful Hollywood director? We've seen that happen for many years and countless women were abused and degraded by the likes of Harvey Weinstein. I thought we were at a #MeToo turning point, where we've had enough of this sexploitation! There was more outrage over grown women on a casting couch than there is about Kaplan using minor children to simulate masturbation for entertainment purposes. What the hell is wrong with us?