Netflix changes 'Cuties' promo image, synopsis after accusations of streaming giant supporting 'pedophilia'
The coming-of-age film, undoubtedly, deals with a sensitive subject matter and for the most part, at least going by initial reviews, the film has managed to walk the line confidently
A French film called ‘Mignonnes’ or ‘Cuties’ has caused a bit of controversy. The French movie written and directed by Maïmouna Doucouré follows an 11-year-old Senegalese immigrant, Amy (Fathia Youssouf), who upsets her Muslim mother by opting to join the Cuties, a crew of dancers who rehearse after school.
The film premiered in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition sector of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2020. It won the Directing Jury Award for its script. And it is up for a premiere on Netflix on September 9.
The film, undoubtedly, deals with a sensitive subject matter. Young femininity versus conservative values, all in the setting of hypersexuality of young girls is not an easy line to walk. And for the most part, at least going by initial reviews, the film has managed to make that walk confidently. Yet, problems began after Netflix released promo material for the film.
“It is so revealing that the first major @netflix original to center young Black girls hinges on explicitly sexualizing 11-year-old children,” a Twitter user wrote. “Whether it’s acting or music, a sexualized image is too often the price of mainstream success for Black women & girls. Disgraceful.”
It is so revealing that the first major @netflix original to centre young Black girls hinges on explicitly sexualising 11 year old children. Whether it’s acting or music, a sexualised image is too often the price of mainstream success for Black women & girls. Disgraceful. pic.twitter.com/18ItsgIZLb— Sister Outrider (@ClaireShrugged) August 20, 2020
But more than just the film’s theme and idea, people seemingly had an issue with how Netflix promoted it. The earlier promo for the film included a poster that had the protagonists, all minors, in scantily-clad outfits, with the description that 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.”
After a lot of backlash, however, Netflix changed both the poster and the description. The poster now is a close-up of Amy, while the description reads, “Eleven-year-old Amy starts to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew.”
In press statements, Netflix even apologized for the earlier promo material. The streaming giant said, “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.”
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.— Netflix (@netflix) August 20, 2020
But by this time, the damage had been done. Several Twitter users, on Thursday, August 20, were tweeting under the hashtag #NetflixPedofilia to criticize the streamer. One Twitter user wrote, “#NetflixPedofilia #netflix changed the photo from #cuties. And rewrote the description. How the f*** did they think the first one was okay in the first place? I'm not the social justice cancel type but someone in Netflix higher-ups approved of the image and description.”
#NetflixPedofilia #netflix changed the photo from #cuties. And REWROTE the description. How the FUCK did they think the first one was okay in the first place?— Lost Chaos💎 (@LostChaosTv) August 20, 2020
I'm the not the SOCIAL JUST cancel type but SOMEONE in Netflix HIGHER UPS approved of the image and description... pic.twitter.com/FWv8wfOFaH
Another tweeted, “Keep in mind, boys, you need to be over 16 years of age in order to watch sexualized 11-year-olds twerk. #NetflixPedofilia.”
One person wrote on Twitter, “Hey @netflix what the f*** is wrong with you? 11-year-olds twerking? Didn’t know the people at the higher-ups were Pedos! #NetflixPedofilia #netflixisoverparty.”
One Twitter user observed, “When 4chan (one of the most disgusting places on the internet) has higher moral standards than #NetflixPedofilia #Cuties,” sharing a screenshot of one of its board’s content policy with regards to ‘Cuties’.