20 August 2020 22:31
Netflix is facing online backlash for what has been perceived as the sexualization of young preteen girls in the marketing for its new French film Cuties. The movie, titled Mignonnes in native France, revolves around 11-year-old Senegal immigrant Amy, who lives with her mother Mariam in one of Paris' poorest neighborhoods along with her two younger brothers as they all await their father's arrival from Senegal. Cuties premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, claiming the Directing Jury Award and earning an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. Writer and director Maïmouna Doucouré told Cineuropa this summer that she first thought of the concept when she was at a neighborhood party and a group of young girls were on stage "dancing in a very sensual way while wearing very revealing clothes." The filmmaker was "shocked" and wondered "if they were aware of the image of sexual availability that they were projecting." The original French poster shows them in a wide shot walking together on a cobblestone street, whereas the American promo image features them posed in skin-baring dance outfits. In a statement to Metro.co.uk, Netflix said: "This was not an accurate representation of the film so the image and description has been updated." A Change.org petition with more than 27,000 signatures as of this writing calls for Netflix to remove Cuties because it "promotes child pornography." Netflix's promotional poster, which features the young girls striking dance poses in shorts and crop tops, has been the main point of backlash.
Following the immediate negative response, the controversial promo image is nowhere to be found on Netflix's site while the movie overview has been edited to: "Eleven-year-old Amy starts to rebel against her conservative family's traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew." As of Wednesday night, the site still described it as a "twerking dance crew." 9) is advertised as a "coming of age tale." The problem is, the little girls being sexualized in this film are 11-years-old. Netflix has removed a promotional image which showed girls posing in skimpy outfits in a new film called Cuties. The poster for the French drama, along with a trailer, had sparked online disapproval and a petition calling for Netflix to drop it. The award-winning drama follows an 11-year-old who joins a dance group. The streaming giant also said the original poster was not an accurate representation of the film.
Skip Twitter post by @Hello_Tailor There was no controversy when this film screened to festival audiences, but now it's at the center of an online controversy with tens of thousands of people signing a petition saying the film promotes pedophilia. Skip Twitter post by @ArmendarizDis16 It sickens me that Netflix is using its global platform to circumvent child pornoraphy laws by airing #Cuties, a movie about an 11 year old girl twerking her way to stardom! After the poster sparked controversy online, Netflix told BBC News: "This was not an accurate representation of the film so the image and description has been updated." The streaming giant later tweeted: "We're deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties. The Hollywood Reporter called the film "captivating but structurally shaky", and said it portrayed a "critical view of a culture that steers impressionable young girls toward the hypersexualization of their bodies". Netflix has apologised for using 'inappropiate' artwork to promote French film Cuties (originally titled Mignonnes).
MORE: What is Cuties on Netflix about and why is the film controversial? MORE: Netflix accused of 'sexualising girls' with release of Cuties, as fans launch petition to have 'perverted' French film removed The largely well-received French-language pic won the World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award at Sundance this year. It follows Amy, an 11-year-old girl who joins a group of dancers named "The Cuties" at school and rapidly grows aware of her burgeoning femininity — upsetting her mother and her values. An online petition to get the film removed from Netflix has earned over 35,000 signatures and counting. Netflix has issued a statement apologizing for the marketing around its upcoming original film "Cuties," directed by French filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré. The movie world premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award and earned Doucouré a spot on IndieWire's annual list of rising women directors to know. Netflix received backlash over the film after it debuted a poster for the film August 18 that many believed sexualized children. "We're deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties," a Netflix spokesperson said. "It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which won an award at Sundance. "Cuties" stars newcomer Fathia Youssouf as Amy, an 11-year-old girl who befriends a group of dancers at her school and begins growing into her burgeoning femininity. Netflix's poster for "Cuties" featured the young girls that appear in the film striking suggestive dance poses such as twerking while dressed in tight and revealing group outfits. "This movie is disgusting as it sexualizes an 11 year old for the viewing pleasure of pedophiles and also negatively influences our children," the petition reads.