A movie theater in Australia has stopped showing the children's movie "Show Dogs" after growing backlash from parents.
The PG-rated film has come under fire for scenes which parents and experts say teaches kids to become comfortable with inappropriate touching.
The movie about a Rottweiler police dog named Max who goes undercover at a dog show, was released May 18.
Max, played by actor and rapper Ludacris, is forced to undergo "inspection" of his genitals and is told to go to his "Zen place," during the exam.
Many took to social media to voice their outrage over the scenes.
Rachel Reyes commented on Facebook, "It didn't need to be included in a children's film - come on!"
"What a load of rubbish," said Lami Martin. "It tells children that if they are *groomed* and sexually assaulted, to just go to their happy place to block it out. Such a sick disgusting film!!"
Within 48 hours of its release, Cineplex in Australia pulled the movie from its theaters.
"Cineplex cinemas have deleted the screening of Show Dogs," reads a message on the theater's website.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation, which condemned the scenes, applauded the theater's decision and calls upon AMC and Regal theaters to follow suit and remove the film from distribution.
"These two scenes in Show Dogs are essentially a sextortion scenario – where the character is told he must allow himself to be touched in his privates so that something bad doesn't happen to another character (the kidnapped panda) they are attempting to rescue," said NCOSE Executive Director, Dawn Hawkins. "This is a textbook sexual abuser move – it would be impossible to calculate the number of times sexual abusers coerce minors into various sexual activities (everything from sending nude pictures to sex trafficking them) by using the threat of something bad happening to someone else if they don't comply."
The makers of "Show Dogs" have issued an apology.
"It has come to our attention that there have been online discussion and concern about a particular scene in Show Dogs, a family comedy that is rated PG," reads a statement on the movie's Facebook page. "The dog show judging in this film is depicted completely accurately as done at shows around the world; and was performed by professional and highly respected dog show judges. Global Road Entertainment and the filmmakers are saddened and apologize to any parent who feels the scene sends a message other than a comedic moment in the film, with no hidden or ulterior meaning, but respect their right to react to any piece of content."
Blogger Terina Maldonado was first to voice opposition about the film's inappropriate scenes.
In an interview with CBN News, she said she and her family went to see "Show Dogs" and explained that several scenes disturbed her.
"The fact that it was sending the message to my children to allow somebody to touch your private parts and then you can be a hero," she said.
Maldonado added that she was contacted by the American Kennel Club about the proper way of examining show dogs.
"They contacted me to inform me what an inspection actually looks like at a dog show competition and to let me know that it is not depicted correctly in the film."
And as a survivor of abuse, Maldonado feels strongly about helping other parents protect their children.
"I am a survivor of child abuse and so I am more sensitive to those type of topics," she explained.
Meanwhile, Max Botkin, the original scriptwriter for the film, said he did not write the questionable scenes and disapproves of them.
He told CBN News, "I didn't write any of those scenes. 13 writers were hired after me (12 uncredited)."
"I absolutely condemn any suggestion or act of non-consensual touching in any form, as well as disassociation as a coping mechanism for abuse of any kind,"Botkin said in a statement. "I understand and empathize with parents' and group' concerns regarding the message the movie may impart."
Meanwhile, parents are being encouraged to sign a petition to boycott the film.
CBN News contacted Global Road Entertainment, which co-produced and co-financed the film with Riverstone Pictures, for comment. At the publication of this article we had not heard back from them.