Social media users started criticizing the online streaming platform, Netflix, for the ‘inappropriate poster’ of its upcoming French movie titled, ‘Cuties’ (titled ‘Mignonnes’ in the French version) as they feel it sexualizes children.
Written and directed by Maïmouna Doucoure, the movie revolves around 11-year-old Senegalese immigrant child named Amy, who lives with her mother Mariam in one of Paris’ poorest neighbourhoods along with her two younger brothers as they all await their father’s arrival from Senegal. Her life changes when she becomes friends with her rowdy neighbour Angelica and intrigued by her free-spirited dance crew called the Cuties, a hip-hop troupe. While Mariam sees this in opposition to her traditional Senegalese Muslim values, Amy sees it as an exciting new passion.
Netflix received backlash over the film after it debuted the poster on August 18. Many believed that movie sexualized children. Netizens started noting the differences between how the French and American posters depicted the girls. The original French poster shows them in a wide shot walking together on a street, whereas the American promo image features them posed in skin-baring and more revealing dance outfits.
Check out a few tweets below:
This criticism further led to a Change.org petition urging the streaming giant to remove the movie from its upcoming slate. According to various sources, the petition for Netflix to cancel “Cuties” has earned over 50,000 signatures and counting.
The petition read: “As we are becoming more aware of the horror of child sex trafficking, and child sexual abuse we need to come together to end all forms. One way we can achieve this is to cancel shows and movies that exploit our children! The movie Cuties shows children dressed provocatively, dancing sexually and is rated only for adult viewers. It was created for entertaining adults who are paedophiles. Please sign the petition to protect our children from exploitation in movies”
However, Netflix responded to the backlash and apologized in an official statement on Thursday calling the marketing of the film and the artwork of the poster ‘inappropriate’.
The streaming platform tweeted, “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 won an award at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description.” Check out the tweet below.
The original description of the film on Netflix earlier read, “Amy, 11, becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew. Hoping to join them, she starts to explore her femininity, defying her family’s traditions.” It has been now changed to, “Eleven-year-old Amy starts to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew.”
‘Cuties’ was premiered at 2020 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award. The movie is set to begin streaming from September 9 on Netflix.