Call to boycott movie ‘Show Dogs’ over sexual grooming message

National Center on Sexual Exploitation

A family movie ‘Show Dogs’ that was released in South Africa on July 6 does contain scenes and references normalising unwanted genital touching – portraying techniques often used by child abusers to groom children for sexual abuse, says Cause For Justice (CFJ).

CFJ which has been sounding an alert about possible disturbing scenes in the movie since June 12 has urged adults to protect children by boycotting the film, urging others to do the same, requesting cinemas to stop showing the film and sharing about it on social media using the tags #Boycott #ShowDogs #EndSexualExploitation #FortheSakeofOurChildren #ChildProtection and addresses @fpbza @sterkinekor @numetro @showdogsmovie

CFJ director Ryan Smit says in a statement they engaged the Minister of Communications, the distributors (Filmfinity (Pty) Ltd), the exhibitors (Nu Metro theatres, and Ster-Kinekor theatres) and the Film and Publication Board (who classified the film) and its Appeal Tribunal, trying to get the disturbing scenes removed or the age rating (  7-9 PG LV) raised.

Having viewed the film on Friday he says: “In particular, we can confirm that the following inappropriate and disturbing scenes and references are still in the edited version of the film screened in South African cinemas, as reported by movie-goers from outside South Africa: ‘But the edited movie, just like the original, takes a dark turn when Max learns he will have to submit to the show judge touching his private parts (yes, that is exactly what they are called in the movie) in order to advance in competition. Max emphatically does not want to do this, but his FBI handler and a French show dog who is his mentor persuade him that with practice, he can learn to allow his genitals to be fondled. This process of gaining a child’s trust and then gradually getting the child accustomed to being touched is what we call “grooming.”

‘During practice sessions, Max snaps and barks when his handler touches his private parts. The mentor dog steps in, and coaches him that to get through this most difficult part “you must go in your mind to your happy place” until it is over. Max reluctantly continues to practice, and when he does not snap at his handler, he has achieved victory.

‘Going to your happy place is a good metaphor for the dissociation that allows many children to survive sexual abuse. They temporarily check out of their bodies and go to a protected place inside their minds, pretending the molestation is not happening. Neurochemicals acting as analgesics flood the body, producing a numbing effect.

‘It is also not uncommon for sexual offenders to bring a more seasoned child, one who had already been molested, into the room when they first attempt genital contact with the new victim. This accomplishes several things, including normalizing the abuse (if this is also happening to him/her, it must be OK!) and drawing the previously victimized child into molesting another, compounding shame and confusion.

‘Max enters the final competition under terrible pressure, knowing that if he snaps at the judge he won’t infiltrate the ring and the baby panda will be forever lost. In a dramatic scene, the judge approaches Max from behind and everything slows down. His hands appear abnormally large as he lifts the tail, and Max’s heart thumps loudly as he desperately seeks his happy place.

‘As the judge grips him, Max seems to move into a trance, and suddenly music with the lyrics to LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It” blasts through the room.

‘Max has experienced the distortion of vision and sound at the moment of trauma and has found refuge in his happy place. He goes on to rescue the panda, saving her from a terrible fate. This also tracks to how children are sometimes told that unless they allow themselves to be touched, harm will come to someone they love, perhaps their little sister or a pet.’ –(From:


One Comment

  1. Sonia Odendaal

    This is so disturbing! I have posted the article to my Facebook and have copied and pasted and emailed to many in my address book. Thank you for the information and keep up the good work!