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Arrest made following pursuit

By Chris Edwardsnews@tylercountybooster.com SPURGER – The Tyler County Sheriff’s Office recently made an arrest following a high-speed pursuit in the Spurger/Fred area, according to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford. Weatherford reported that on the…

Charges dropped against constable candidate

By Tony Farkasnews@sanjacnews.com Peter SpartaThe felony charge against a candidate for the San Jacinto County Precinct 3 constable’s position, arrested in January, was dismissed Friday because it was characterized as a case of mistaken identity. The charge was dismissed by a representative of the Waller County District Attorney’s Office, Tiffany…
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Fire department rescues stranded boaters on river

Four people were rescued from a sinking water craft on Thursday. Courtesy photo TCNS staff TRINITY —Trinity Fire & Rescue rescued four adults from a sinking boat on Thursday. Fire Chief Keith Johnson said that at approximately 8:30 p.m. Thursday, rescue personnel were sent to the site of the sinking craft on the Trinity River across from Trinity…
Four people were rescued from a sinking water craft on Thursday. Courtesy photo

Stolen trucks

On Thursday, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office received reports that three newer model Ford pickup trucks had been stolen from multiple locations across Polk County. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has requested the public’s assistance in locating the vehicles pictured that were stolen. Those with information in reference to this casethat may help…

Hybrid bass stocking program could have huge economic impact

Mike Bischoff of “The Happy Hookers” Lake Livingston Fishing Club signs a permit application as Ron Diderich, president of Friends of Lake Livingston, and Dan Ashe, an inland fisheries biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, look on. The three men and the groups they represent are part of a larger effort to stock Lake Livingston with…
Mike Bischoff of “The Happy Hookers” Lake Livingston Fishing Club signs a permit application as Ron Diderich, president of Friends of Lake Livingston, and Dan Ashe, an inland fisheries biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, look on. The three men and the groups they represent are part of a larger effort to stock Lake Livingston with hybrid bass, making it a destination lake for anglers. Courtesy photo

Red Cross Opens Two Shelters to Help those Impacted by Storms

Wednesday, April 10, 2024- The American Red Cross has opened two emergency shelter in our Southeast and Deep East chapter to help those impacted by the overnight storms across the region. Our Texas Gulf Coast Disaster Team is working with local county officials and emergency managers to determine the needs in several communities due to the…
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Online Independent Living class offered

STOCK PHOTO Crockett-Palestine Resource Centers for Independent Living are beginning a new online class, Independence Corner, for people with disabilities. Classes will be held on Mondays from 1-2 p.m., with the first class on April 8. The topics for the first series of classes include making decisions, money management, career preparation, health…

UH musical theatre showcase concert slated

From Enterprise Staff The Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts is proud to announce a collaboration between Tony Award-winning Broadway composer Jason Robert Brown and acclaimed actress and singer Sally Mayes at the University of Houston on April 12. This concert, a highlight of the spring semester, serves as the culmination of the “Song…

Eclipse to hit Texas Monday

By Chris Edwardsnews@tylercountybooster.com TYLER COUNTY – A cosmic event that at least one economist is predicting to be “the most profitable 22 minutes” in Texas history is occurring next Monday, April 8. A total solar eclipse, which the site Great American Eclipse, is calling “the greatest sight nature offers,” where the sun will be eclipsed by…

Arrests made for drugs, road rage incident

From Enterprise Staff Polk County Sheriff’s Office narcotics detectives served a felony warrant on Brandon Michael Dunaway, 21 of Livingston, on March 26 in relation to an overdose that occurred at a Polk County residence earlier this week. Upon arrival, detectives identified Dunaway’s girlfriend, Christian Cari Stanley, 19 of Livingston, who…

Trinity-Neches Livestock Show kicks off Monday

STOCK PHOTO From Enterprise Staff The 78th annual Trinity-Neches FFA and 4-H Livestock Show kicks off Monday at the Barney Wiggins Memorial Arena on S.H. 146 and will run through April 6 with a rodeo slated for 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Gates will not open prior to 6 a.m. each morning and will close at 10 p.m. each night. Everyone must leave the…
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Dogwood parade, coronation this weekend

All manner of vehicles and floats will be on display during the Queen’s Parade on Saturday. BOOSTER FILE PHOTO | JIM POWERS By Chris Edwardsnews@tylercountybooster.com WOODVILLE – This weekend will see the coronation of a new Dogwood Queen. The annual Dogwood Festival, which celebrates its third and final weekend as “Queen’s Weekend,” will take…
All manner of vehicles and floats will be on display during the Queen’s Parade on Saturday.  BOOSTER FILE PHOTO | JIM POWERS

Sting operation nets prostitution charge

STOCK PHOTO By Emily Banks Wooteneditor@polkenterprise.com The Livingston Police Department, with assistance from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, conducted a sting operation at the Su Massage Parlor located at 913 N. Washington Ave. on March 28. One female, Shijiao Jiang, 65 of Livingston, was arrested and charged with prostitution which is a…

Deadline approaching for SBA drought loans

Special to the News-Times SACRAMENTO — Francisco Sánchez Jr., associate administrator for the Office of Disaster Recovery and Resilience at the Small Business Administration, today reminded small nonfarm businesses in 53 Texas counties and neighboring parishes in Louisiana of the April 22, 2024, deadline to apply for an SBA federal disaster loan…

Western Weekend Kicks Off Friday

Special to the Booster WOODVILLE – The Tyler County Dogwood Festival Western Weekend, which is the second weekend of the festival, is this weekend, running March 29-30. The Western Weekend Parade is an event that many spectators attend every year and has been around for more than 60 years. In 1958, 75 horseback riders formed on Highway 190 West at…
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White named ‘Mr. East Texas’

By Chris Edwardsnews@tylercountybooster.com WOODVILLE – Former State Rep. James White has another honor to add to his already impressive mantle or brag wall – that of Mr. East Texas. Last week, the Dogwood Festival board of directors made its announcement that White has been bestowed the title for the 2024 festival year. White, a Hillister…
Jas White

LISD employee arrested for carrying gun

STOCK PHOTO From Enterprise Staff A Livingston ISD employee was arrested without incident Thursday for possession of a firearm at the district’s transportation facility. According to police reports, Russell David Hogue, 62, of Livingston was arrested around 2;30 p.m. for unlawful carrying a weapon in prohibited places. The school district released…

Tyler County grand jury indicts Netflix

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Spider 2CALEB FORTENBERRY | TCB Tyler County District Attorney Lucas Babin being interviewed for the East Texan Magazine in August 2020.

By Chris Edwards

TYLER COUNTY – A Tyler County grand jury has indicted the streaming media service provider Netflix, Inc. for promoting depictions of “the lewd exhibition” of a child.

The indictment was handed down on Sept. 23 in the 1A District Court, and stems from the promotion of the controversial film Cuties. The summons was served on the Los Gatos, Calif.-based company on last Thursday, according to Tyler County District Attorney Lucas Babin.

Babin cited section 43.262 of the state penal code, which states that it is illegal to “knowingly promote visual material that depicts the lewd exhibition of the genitals or public area of a clothed or partially clothed child,” which is the charge issued in the indictment: Promotion of Lewd Visual Material Depicting Child, which, by statute, is a State Jail felony. According to a statement from Shannon Edmonds, who serves as the director of governmental relations for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, there is no jail time that comes with a conviction of a company. The conviction would carry a maximum $20,000 fine, however.

Within the indictment, it is alleged that the film contains “no serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”

“As a district attorney, I have to sift through countless cases and make calls every day on how to keep our communities safe,” Babin said. “In our county, it is not uncommon for me to confront cases with underage victims.”

He added that he had heard about the film and after watching it, knew there was probable cause to believe it was liable to criminal prosecution under the penal code he cited.

The film has met its share of controversy with the general public and from lawmakers since it was released on Netflix. The individuals named in the indictment as “high managerial agent[s]” are Wilmot Reed Hastings, Jr. and Theodore Anthony Sarandos, Jr., who co-founded and serve as co-CEOs of the company.

The film’s plot centers around an 11-year-old Senegalese girl named Amy, who lives with her mother in a poor Parisian neighborhood. The girl, who is from a fundamentalist Muslim family, is enamored with the behavior of a neighbor girl who dances with an adult-style dance group. According to a review of the film, the contrasting values of fundamentalism versus the sexually suggestive dance moves used by the dance troupe are the heart of the film’s conflict. In a statement released to media, a Netflix spokesperson said that the film is a work of “social commentary against the sexualization of young children.”

Cuties is described as a French coming-of-age comedy-drama and was released internationally on Netflix on Sept. 9. The film’s marketing campaign drew widespread scrutiny online for allegedly sexualizing the child actresses depicted on posters and other promotional materials. Prior to the Netflix release, the film had not met with controversy, and in its French iteration (as Mignonnes) won an award at the Sundance Film Festival for its director Maimouna Doucoure.

Many who have boycotted the film online have used the hashtag “#CancelNetflix” on social media to voice opposition and concerns. The statement trended on Twitter throughout the past month.

Recently, State Rep. James White (R-Hillister) submitted a letter to Attorney General Ken Paxton concerning the film. White said in the letter that he has received numerous inquiries about Netflix’s distribution of the film from constituents who are “appalled at the prospect of the mass distribution of a movie that sexualizes young girls through dance scenes and even exposes the bare breast of a minor.”

White is urging the AG to utilize its “robust cyber unit” to investigate the production and distribution of Cuties for violation(s) of state and federal child pornography statutes.

Senator Ted Cruz has also weighed in on the film and called on the Department of Justice to investigate. In a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, Cruz claimed the film “routinely fetishizes and sexualizes these pre-adolescent girls as they perform dances simulating sexual conduct in revealing clothing.” Cruz calls upon Barr and the DOJ to investigate whether federal law was broken in the production or distribution of Cuties.

The lawmakers who spoke out all want an examination as to whether Netflix or the filmmakers broke federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography with the release of Cuties.

Babin said that he and his staff of the Tyler County District Attorney’s Office are subject to rules limiting their ability to make public comments about pending cases and the defendants in those cases. “All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty,” he said.

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