School cancels screening of PG-rated film after uproar from parents

One parent said: ‘I can’t begin to think why the school thought it was a good idea to screen it for the little children’ (Pictures: nWave Pictures)

A school’s screening of The Queen’s Corgi in honour of the Platinum Jubilee was cancelled after uproar from parents.

The 2019 animated movie tells the story of the monarch’s favourite dog, Rex, who gets lost from the palace and tries to find his way home.

It is rated PG – but was named ‘disgusting’ by mums and dads who claimed it had scenes of ‘sexual assault, attempted murder, fight clubs and exotic dancers’.

Some parents at Chilton Foliat primary school near Hungerford, Berkshire, also argued that it showed ‘cocaine addiction, domestic violence and a proposal of suicide’.

Pupils at the school, which caters to those aged four to 11, were set to be shown the critically bashed film on May 27.

But one parent argued it stood ‘in absolute opposition of the values I teach my children around equality, consideration and love – values which I was led to believe the school promotes’.

One mum of a six-year-old girl told the Newbury Weekly News: ‘We don’t want our child seeing a film like that – it’s dressed up as a comedy cartoon but the underlying messages are deeply disturbing and inappropriate.

‘I can’t begin to think why the school thought it was a good idea to screen it for the little children.’

An email sent to guardians who expressed concern, the school said: ‘It had been highly recommended to us by two other local primary schools and we had, of course, watched the trailer and read the PG rating.’

But the screening was scrapped at the last minute, with headteacher Katie Turner saying: ‘We had a number of activities to celebrate the Jubilee planned at our school which everyone was looking forward to.

‘We always notify parents in advance if, on the rare occasion, we are planning to screen any PG-rated film, so that they have the option to withdraw their child should they wish.

‘As always, we listen carefully to parents’ concerns and, because we had a few parents who didn’t wish their children to see the film, we took the decision not to show it and planned other activities instead.’

One scene of The Queen’s Corgi is said to see President Donald Trump (voiced by Jon Culshaw) suggest his dog Mitzi (voiced by Sarah Hadland) should ‘grab some puppy’ and mate with Rex (voiced by Jack Whitehall).

The two are shut inside a room together as Rex does his best to evade her.

A reviewer from the Parent Previews website, which helps families choose films suitable for children, said: ‘This is the part of the film that will appall most parents because Rex’s lack of consent is never taken seriously. 

‘When Rex runs from her, Mitzi says, “Playing hard to get. I like that”. And when Rex throws thumb tacks in front of her to slow her down, Mitzi’s response is “Wanna play rough? Cuz I sure do”.’

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The reviewer said ‘how this movie got made in the #MeToo era is a mystery to me’, adding: ‘The idea that this would be considered suitable for children leaves me both angry and incredulous.’

Other scenes were deemed too violent by critics – including one which showed Rex lured to a bridge and pushed onto a frozen river, before a brick is dropped through the ice to make sure he drowns. 

Parent review said: ‘When Rex later returns to the palace, the dog sets fire to the room and barricades the door. 

‘Now, while a certain amount of slapstick violence is par for the course in animated movies for kids, the cold murderousness of these scenes is far too much for young viewers.’

Speaking previously to about the Trump line, director Ben Stassen said he didn’t believe there was anything inappropriate about the line as kids wouldn’t understand what it meant.

He said: ‘We did ask ourselves the same question and early on,  we tested the scene (in storyboard version) with a few American kids (no scientific sampling, but enough to get an idea).  

‘Not a single kid understood the reference to Trump’s sexist remark.  All the adults did.

‘Maybe the line is tasteless (I personally find it funny…) but it is certainly not inappropriate for kids since they don’t know its origin.

‘I don’t think it is a bad thing to have scenes in a family film that can be read on two different levels by the children and their parents.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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