Netflix In Trouble With Parents Over Sexual Elements In Popular Children’s Cartoon

Netflix cartoon Battle Kitty is being targeted by parents for including twerking and BDSM outfits.

By Sean Thiessen | Published

Battle Kitty

Animation is not just for kids. Adult animated series like Rick and Morty and King of the Hill are just a few in the genre to have ascended to enormous popularity. However, parents have taken to social media to reprimand the Netflix cartoon Battle Kitty, which is marketed as a kids’ show, but which many believe is chock full of sexual content inappropriate for its target audience.

Battle Kitty is an interactive cartoon about a spunky kitten who sets out on a quest to become a mighty warrior and conquer all the foes on Battle Island. The adventure series incorporates video game elements, involving children in the action of the story. The Netflix cartoon has received praise from many viewers for normalizing and celebrating LGBTQ characters and culture.

For most parents, representation is not the issue, and the appeal to Netflix to cancel and remove the cartoon from the platform is built on two main points: butts and BDSM. Battle Kitty has a large focus on butts and twerking, which the show’s creator, Matt Layzell, views as innocent. “There’s just something about little cute characters shaking their butts,” Layzell told Wired. “I think there’s some ancient magic there.”

There was no ruckus upon the release of Finding Nemo in 2003 when Nemo “touched the butt,” as his classmates said when they incorrectly identified a boat. Kids, and even some adults, enjoy potty humor and jokes about butts. The argument brewing online is that Battle Kitty takes the obsession with butts to the next level, and Netflix is under fire for allowing such content in a kids’ cartoon.

The other beef parents have with Battle Kitty is the number of characters who appear in costumes and gear associated with BDSM. Parents have spotted bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism situations and outfits woven throughout the Netflix cartoon. While the references may be subtle or go over the heads of the show’s child viewers, many feel the imagery goes too far.

Battle Kitty

Animated series continue to blur the line between what is and is not suitable for children. As programs centered on characters traditionally aimed at kids, such as DC superheroes, move into darker and more adult territory, parents are required to maintain ever-higher vigilance as to what their kids are watching. Netflix faces a critical decision with their Battle Kitty cartoon.

On one hand, the show has been praised for its progressive attitude and treatment of LGBTQ characters. On the other hand, parents are calling the show out for offering up sexualized content to young children. Ratings aside, the Battle Kitty controversy puts Netflix at the center of a moral debate, and the streamer must make a decision about whether or not to cancel the cartoon.

Netflix may choose to cancel the show, remove it from the platform, or continue the show with an adjusted age rating. Alternatively, Netflix may choose to do nothing about the backlash to the cartoon and proceed as normal. All that depends on how much pressure mounts on the streamer.

Up until now, Netflix has seemed proud of Battle Kitty and embraced its butt-shaking madness. With increasing pushback against the show snowballing on social media, the clock is ticking for Netflix to take a stance on the most experimental cartoon it has.