Netflix has issued a response as the film “Cuties” (French film “Mignonnes”) continues to be slammed over its alleged sexualized portrayal of children.
The movie tells the tale of Amy, an 11-year-old Senegalese girl living in Paris, who joins a “free-spirited dance clique” to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions.
The poster first sparked backlash due to the way the girls were portrayed. Social media users continued to criticize the film after it dropped on the streaming platform.
Netflix has since said, according to Variety: “’Cuties’ is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children.”
“It’s an award-winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up — and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”
Change.org petitions have also been doing the rounds online, with one calling for Netflix to cancel the film with the backing of over 150,000 signatures.
See more response below.
My parents have canceled their Netflix subscription over 'Cuties'
— Amber Athey (@amber_athey) September 10, 2020
I thought the western world knew better, isn’t this child pornography? Isn’t this every parent’s nightmare? How did this happen? Who did the direction for this movie. Netflix should better take this Cuties movie down. #CancelNexflix pic.twitter.com/z5xbULvtwX
— Rachyaxelle (@Rachyaxelle1) September 11, 2020
You are under contract with @Netflix. You have two daughters. Netflix has a film called "Cuties" that features close up crotch shots of 11 yr old girls while they touch their private parts and then performing sexual dances. Will you demand they pull this film?
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) September 11, 2020
I just saw a clip from "Cuties" and everyone involved with that movie needs their ass beat with a sock full of quarters.
— Torraine Walker (@TorraineWalker) September 11, 2020
The filmmakers behind #cuties really missed the mark didn’t they? You can’t make a film about the sexualisation of children…..by sexualising them this badly.
— Sara Matin (@Smats22) September 11, 2020
I just watched the movie #Cuties on @netflix / @Netflix_CA
It was the most disturbing and disgusting thing I have ever seen. STOP SEXUALIZING YOUNG GIRLS, NOW! STOP NORMALIZING PEDOPHILIA!#NetflixPedofilia #NetflixCancelled #CutiesIsNOTCute #cutiesnetflix #pedoflix #pedophelia
— Sandra Fraser (@konekochu) September 11, 2020
Sexualising 11yr olds?!?!
— 𝐉akeyBoy (@Marshall_jake__) September 11, 2020
“Cuties” director Maïmouna Doucouré addressed the backlash in an interview with Zora.
She said when asked how she’d been dealing with the fallout amid Netflix’s marketing catastrophe, “In the beginning, it was very paradoxical for me, because the film was getting great press and a great audience reaction. Now I realize that the people who have started this controversy haven’t yet seen the film.
“Netflix has apologized to the public and to myself. I’m hoping that these people will watch the movie now that it’s out. I’m eager to see their reaction when they realize that we’re both on the same side of this fight against young children’s hypersexualization.”
Texas Senator Ted Cruz then shared a letter he sent to the U.S. Department of Justice, in which he asked them to investigate “Cuties” for child pornography.
Cruz’s letter saw him question whether anyone involved in the film “violated any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography.”
“The film routinely fetishizes and sexualizes these pre-adolescent girls as they perform dances simulating sexual conduct in revealing clothing, including at least one scene with partial child nudity,” he wrote.
See the full letter below.
Following @netflix’s disturbing promotion of “Cuties,” I sent a letter calling on @TheJusticeDept to investigate whether Netflix, its executives, or the filmmakers violated any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography. pic.twitter.com/P7wLXixU6X
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) September 12, 2020