French film Cuties continues to cause controversy for Netflix. As of this morning, #CancelNetflix was the number one trending topic on Twitter. The streaming service came under fire at the end of August when they released a promotional poster for Maïmouna Doucouré's movie in which young girls were in sexually suggestive dance poses. The poster instantly got a reaction on social media, as did their synopsis for the movie, which talked about the young girls and the aforementioned sexually suggestive dance moves. Netflix immediately apologized and pulled the poster, while changing their synopsis.
Netflix started streaming Cuties on September 9th and people are not happy about it. Maïmouna Doucouré's movie focuses on an eleven-year old girl who wants to escape her family's traditional values and join her neighbor's free spirited dance clique. A petition has been started, which encourages Netflix subscribers to cancel their subscriptions over their decision to stream the movie. The petition claims that Cuties and other material on the streaming platform "exploits children and creates a disturbing vibe." As of this writing, the petition has over 600,000 signatures.
Cuties premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and received positive reviews. However, Conservative outlets and others in the United States are furious about the movie. Melissa Henson, program director for the Parents Television Group, says, "Although the film tackles an important topic - one that under different circumstances we might even applaud - it's the way the film goes about it that's problematic. This film could have been a powerful rebuke of popular culture that sexualizes children and robs them of their innocence." Elsewhere, the movie is being attacked all over social media and so is its director.
Maïmouna Doucouré says she received "numerous" death threats after Netflix released their controversial promotional poster. "I received numerous attacks on my character from people who had not seen the film, who thought I was actually making a film that was apologetic about hyper-sexualization of children," she says. Netflix immediately apologized to the director and, as of last week, she was very happy to have Cuties streaming on Netflix to get some more attention. It's unclear if Doucouré expected the avalanche of negative attention that her movie has received over the past few weeks.
Maïmouna Doucouré also says she is still receiving praise from people who have seen Cuties. Thor: Ragnarok actress Tessa Thompson publicly applauded the movie, while offering her perspective on the outrage. Sundance and Berlin "really supported" her Doucouré says. Additionally, she has also received "extraordinary support" from the French government. "I wrote this film after I spent a year and a half interviewing pre-adolescent girls, trying to understand their notion of what femininity was, and how social media was affecting this idea." Regardless of her intentions, the movie is getting blasted in North America. The "Cancel Netflix" petition can be found over at Change.org.