A controversial movie titled ‘Cuties’ has caused mayhem on social media after viewers deemed it grossly inappropriate due to the sexualization of underage girls.
The movie received so much backlash that the hashtag “#CancelNetflix” became the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter in the United States on Thursday, September 10, after it premiered September 9 on Netflix. A petition urging people to cancel their Netflix subscriptions was created on change.org and has been signed by more than 600,000 people so far. A separate petition, titled “Petition to remove Cuties from Netflix”, has also been signed by more than 350,000 people.
‘Cuties’ is a French film about an eleven-year-old Senegalese girl in Paris who joins a “free-spirited dance clique” to escape family dysfunction. However, from the official trailer and the movie itself, viewers found the content grossly inappropriate for portraying children in a sexualized manner. Some viewers pointed out that Netflix rated the movie 18+ despite the fact that the major casts were eleven-year-old girls. That, in itself, was quite alarming.
Netflix, in its earlier description of the movie in August, wrote, “Amy, 11, becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew. Hoping to join them, she starts to explore her femininity, defying her family’s traditions.”
However, after receiving backlash for both the description and the poster which showed 11-year-old girls in provocative positions and making sexual gestures, Netflix tendered an apology. A Netflix rep said in a statement to Variety, “We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for ‘Mignonnes’/’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.”
Netflix changed the poster and the description now reads, “Eleven-year-old Amy starts to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew.”
A Conservative advocacy group, Parents Television Council (PTC), said in a statement on Thursday, September 10, that after reviewing the film, it “stands by its earlier criticism that the TV-MA-rated film sexualizes children.”
PTC said, “The young female actors were trained in highly sexualized dance routines; were given lines with “foul, vulgar language” including f—; and were made to wear revealing clothing. In addition, in one scene, Amy is shown pulling down her underwear to photograph her genitals to post online, after she tries to seduce a man (who is a family member) to get out of trouble for stealing his cell phone.”
PTC Program Director, Melissa Henson, said in a statement, “By removing the offensive poster and replacing it with a more innocuous one, Netflix might actually have made the situation worse by suggesting that ‘Cuties’ is nothing more than a cute, coming-of-age movie. Although the film tackles an important topic — one that under different circumstances we might even applaud — it’s the way the film goes about it that’s problematic. This film could have been a powerful rebuke of popular culture that sexualizes children and robs them of their innocence.”