Netflix on Backlash Toward Film: Just Watch It Already

Detractors say 'Cuties' sexualizes young girls; platform, director say it's 'social commentary'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2020 4:00 PM CDT
Updated Sep 11, 2020 4:30 PM CDT
Netflix on Backlash Toward Film: Just Watch It Already
This image released by Netflix shows the cast of the coming-of-age film "Cuties."   (Netflix via AP)

On Wednesday, Netflix started streaming its newest movie, Cuties. By Thursday, the hashtags #BoycottNetflix and #CancelNetflix were trending on social media, and by Friday, a petition pushing for the latter had amassed more than 600,000 signatures. The controversy around the film, which centers on an 11-year-old girl who rebels and joins a "free-spirited dance crew," is twofold, explains USA Today. The first bit of backlash came after the movie's original film poster started making the rounds last month, showing its four young stars in various poses while dressed in short shorts and midriff-baring tops. The streaming service apologized for the artwork, replaced it with new photos, and said it was going ahead with the Sept. 9 debut date for Cuties. But the artwork isn't the only problem some people have with the film.

In the petition calling for a Netflix nixing, the originator writes that "Netflix is no longer the family friendly streaming service I [once] believed it to be," claiming that in her research, she found "other movies mocking religions and exploiting children" or content that otherwise "creates a disturbing vibe." In a short segment accompanying the film on Netflix, director Maimouna Doucoure says she interviewed hundreds of preteens before making the movie, which is partly based on her own childhood. "I put my heart into this film because this is my story," she says, per Variety. Netflix, meanwhile, wants people to watch before passing judgment, calling it "a social commentary against the sexualization of young children" in a statement. It's "a powerful story about the pressure young girls face." More advice here for detractors who haven't yet seen it. (More Netflix stories.)

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