Critics Bash Netflix Film They Say Sexualizes Young Girls

Detractors want Netflix to drop 'Cuties,' which won Sundance award; defenders say it's a 'beautiful film'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2020 11:16 AM CDT
Film That Won Award at Sundance Accused of Attracting Pedophiles
This Jan. 29, 2010, file photo shows the company logo and view of Netflix headquarters in Los Gatos, Calif.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Netflix is taking heat over an award-winning French film on its platform from those who say the movie's promotional materials, as well as the film itself, sexualizes young girls. Per the Los Angeles Times, the movie is about a rebellious 11-year-old girl who joins a "free-spirited dance crew" at school. Deadline notes the film has been "largely well received," and that it has a rating of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. But Netflix's original film poster shows its four young stars showing a lot of skin and posing provocatively, and critics now want the movie nixed from Netflix, saying it's a pedophile magnet. "There is no need for this kind of content in that age group, especially when sex trafficking and pedophilia are so rampant!" reads a petition, which had nearly 160,000 signatures as of Friday morning. Netflix has now responded with a statement, saying it's "deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork" and that it "was not OK, nor was it representative of this ... film which won an award at Sundance."

The company, which hasn't said if an agency or in-house team created the poster, says it has since swapped in a new description and photos but will still debut the film on Sept. 9. (See the original poster from Netflix, as well as the tamer French theatrical poster, here.) The director of Cuties, Maimouna Doucoure, recently told the Cineuropa movie site that the film is partly based on her own experiences growing up, calling it an "uncompromising portrait." "It was very important not to judge these girls, but most of all to understand them, to listen to them, to give them a voice, to take into account the complexity of what they're living through in society," she said. Some big names are also coming to the defense of the movie itself, per Yahoo Entertainment. "#CUTIES is a beautiful film," actress Tessa Thompson tweeted, adding she's "disappointed" in both the marketing of the movie and the "current discourse." (More Netflix stories.)

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