While marketing the movie 'Cuties,' which is set to be released on September 9, Netflix used a poster that allegedly sexualizes children.
Image Source: IMDB/Cuties
Netflix recently came under fire for the promotion of its upcoming French film which allegedly sexualizes children. While marketing the movie Cuties, which is set to be released on September 9 on the streaming network, Netflix used a rather controversial poster that left most of its viewers angry and uncomfortable. The French-language movie was actually received quite well at the Sundance this year after it won the World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award. According to Deadline, the film received a rating of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes as well, with critics generally praising it for its adept handling of topics that are quite sensitive.
Where did you guys land on the appropriateness of the soft core pedo porn you plan to release in September? pic.twitter.com/wBOaKp5Vgy— Beard and Circus (@Shooter_ptpx01) August 20, 2020
The movie follows the journey of an 11-year-old girl named Amy belonging to a conservative Muslim family, who suddenly "becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew," per the original description of the movie. "Hoping to join them, she starts to explore her femininity, defying her family’s traditions," it continued. Now, if you can ignore the "11-year-old twerking" part, then this seems like a wholesome coming-of-age story that shows an adorable friendship among the girls. Would it be more comfortable if the girls were 13 and not 11? Maybe. However, the French are surely known to be more risque than Americans.
Couldn't she have accomplished that without sexualizing young girls herself though? I dunno. Maybe she should have written a book then. Involving young girls in a movie about how sexualizing young girls is bad WHILE SEXUALIZING THEM in the process is ridiculous and dumb.— Middling Me 🇺🇸🌍🤟 (@MiddlingMe) August 20, 2020
If the story has been received so well outside, why did it provoke a storm of online criticism you ask? Well, the artwork used by Netflix didn't sit well with the American audience, many of who claimed that the poster sexualizes children. One Twitter user regarded it as "disgusting," while another expressed that "Netflix really messed up here." On Wednesday, the movie was released in theatres in its native France via Bac Film. The latest artwork seemed to be a sharp contrast to the French theatrical poster which struck a sort of different tone.
A petition was immediately launched by a woman named Allison Mitchell which has already received over 135,000 signatures of its 150,000 goal. "This movie/show is disgusting as it sexualizes an ELEVEN year old for the viewing pleasure of pedophiles and also negatively influences our children! There is no need for this kind of content in that age group, especially when sex trafficking and pedophilia are so rampant! There is no excuse, this is dangerous content!" explained Michell asking for the movie to be removed from the streaming platform. Responding to this negative backlash, Netflix was quick to issue an apology to Deadline over its choice of artwork used for its marketing campaign.
Although they didn't confirm whether the poster was made by an agency or in-house, they provided a statement that read: "We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Cuties. It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which premiered at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description." Now the description of the movie no longer says that the lead character is "exploring her femininity," instead it read, "Eleven-year-old Amy starts to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew."
I am sad for the film is especially for Fathia Youssouf, who is my student, and who does not deserve to read everywhere that we have to cancel the film for which she worked so hard.— Ga (@gujcdgv) August 20, 2020
Looks like Netflix has no plans of removing the film from their streaming network altogether. Unfortunately, not everyone is happy with that decision. Here's how the public reacted to the news:
But you’re still streaming the film 🤦♂️— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) August 20, 2020
The whole industry of preteen dance is wildly inappropriate. This is a movie about that industry. What else would they put on the cover? This is something that exists in reality. It’s pretty disturbing and should probably change. But maybe this film will raise awareness— Alex Elias (@Unknownfear) August 20, 2020
Not good enough, Netflix. This kind of stuff shouldn't even be allowed. Take it off your site. pic.twitter.com/9DPsxRa8Im— Colin Cochrane (@HopeJustice1938) August 20, 2020
If I paid for your subscription instead of using burner emails for 30 day trials, I’d cancel. This shit nasty and it makes me mad 😡 pic.twitter.com/YFxTBtkGRi— Kyrie NoIrving (@KyrieDaComic) August 21, 2020
After researching the film and reading articles from the director and people who've seen it, you grossly misadvertised the content of the film and made it seem like it was everything it was trying to make a point against. I hope you'll be publicly apologising to the director too.— Kestrel (@SpaceKestrel) August 20, 2020