The inappropriate artwork for "Cuties" has drawn severe criticism for sexualizing young girls.
Please Note: We are not including the controversial image in this article. But if you have not seen it, you can find it here.
Streaming platform Netflix has apologized for using an inappropriate promotional images for the upcoming French film Cuties. More than 170,000 people have signed a petition urging an immediate ban on the movie, whose images sexualize a group of 11-year-old girls.
Cuties is set to debut on Netflix on September 9 and has already won this year’s World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award at Sundance. Netflix had recently started promoting the film and used an image of middle school girls in minimal costumes. It caused significant outrage on social media, and a change.org petition was started asking Netflix to halt the film's release. The petition reported the movie as disgraceful, creating a negative impact on young minds and "sexualizing young girls for viewing pleasure of pedophiles." More than 25,000 people signed in less than 24 hours, and many canceled their subscriptions, too.
The platform came up with an apology soon after and removed the controversial promotional poster. They've now released a new image of the lead actress, Fathia Youssouf, with three other young girls pouting and looking over at her.
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
Originally titled Mignonnes, the movie is a directorial debut of Maimouna Doucouré. In a recent interview, Maimouna explained the story of the film and how it depicts the way young kids are more vulnerable in the age of social media.
“This is most of all an uncompromising portrait of an 11-year-old girl plunged in a world that imposes a series of dictates on her. 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, and all of that in parallel with their childhood which is always there, their imaginary, their innocence,” said Maimouna.
The movie revolves around pre-teen girl Amy, who gets intrigued by a free-spirited dance group in her school. She goes against her conservative Senegalese Muslim family's traditions to explore herself and chase her dreams. Cuties was released in French theaters on August 19 and has not sparked any controversy there. Some reviews have called the movie "captivating but structurally shaky." A review from Screen Daily says, "the sight of twerking pre-teen bodies is explicitly designed to shock mature audiences into a contemplation of today's destruction of innocence." Many other leading newspapers stated that the movie is a "film to see."
While netizens are still urging to stop the release of the film, Netflix has not yet commented on anything about postponing it. The movie's official trailer is released and looks like Cuties is all set for streaming.