Netflix’s Cheer star and former Joe Biden presidential campaign surrogate Jerry Harris has been arrested and charged with producing child pornography.
The Netflix star has been arrested on production of child pornography charges, per the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago, according to a report by the Chicago Sun-Times. A criminal complaint filed on Thursday alleges that Harris had asked for pornographic images and videos from two 14-year-old boys, adding that the boys’ parents found the photos and videos on one of the child’s phones.
“Law enforcement was recently contacted by the parent (Individual A) of two 14 year old male children (Minors 1 and 2) regarding allegations that an individual named Jerry Harris had contacted Minor 1 and Minor 2 online and repeatedly solicited child pornography images and videos from Minors 1 and 2,” read the complaint.
“Minor 1 stated that between December 2018 when Harris first contacted him online, and March 2020 when Minor 1 stopped speaking to Harris, at Harris’ request, Minor 1 had sent Harris over a dozen photographs and videos of Minor 1 depicting Minor 1’s penis and anus,” the affidavit continued. “Minor 1 stated that Harris sent Minor 1 photographs of HARRIS’ penis, as well as videos of HARRIS masturbating. Minor 1 informed Harris that he was 13 years old in their initial online encounter.”
The affidavit further stated that the underage teen reported “one in-person encounter” between Harris and the minor, in which the Netflix star “solicited oral sex from Minor 1 in a bathroom at a cheerleading event both Harris and Minor 1 attended.”
“Minor 1 also reported a second attempt by HARRIS to meet Minor 1 for an in-person sexual encounter when Minor 1 was at a cheer competition that HARRIS also attended,” the complaint read.
The affidavit also states that Harris admitted to asking one of the underage teens to take photos and videos of his “penis and buttocks and to send the photos and videos to Harris through Snapchat, knowing that [the minor] was 13 years old.”
“Harris further admitted to engaging in ongoing Snapchat conversations with [the minor] beginning in December 2018 and continuing through March 2020,” continued the complaint, adding that the Netflix star “acknowledged to law enforcement that he in fact received such photos and videos” from the underage teen.
Last month, TIME magazine highlighted how the Biden presidential campaign recruited Harris and other Hollywood figures to help spur voter turnout for the former VP’s White House bid.
Biden’s digital team knows the former VP’s online following doesn’t begin to compete with Trump’s. So its strategy has revolved partly around leveraging the popularity of others. Biden’s team has organized Instagram Live sessions with influencers including TV personality Keke Palmer and Jerry Harris from the Netflix series Cheer. (The idea of working with Harris earned the support of Biden’s college-age granddaughter Finnegan, who has the candidate’s ear on digital matters.)
Harris’ arrest on charges of producing child pornography arrives on the heels of Netflix coming under heavy fire for releasing a film, Cuties, which both Democratic and Republican lawmakers say sexually exploits underage teens and produces fodder for pedophiles.
In recent weeks, GOP lawmakers have called on the U.S. Department of Justice to open a criminal investigation into Netflix for what senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) called “peddling child pornography” after the streaming giant released the preteen twerking film.
On Thursday, Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) asked the Federal Communications Commission to prohibit any future broadcast of the preponderant twerking movie on public television channels.