The hashtag #CancelNetflix has been trending all day on Twitter following the Netflix release of the French film Cuties.
Netflix’s new coming-of-age film Cuties has been the subject of much debate for the last month or so, with calls for streaming giant to take it down.
The film was bought by Netflix following its highly acclaimed premiere at Sundance, but it has since been accused of exploiting young girls through its hypersexualised lens.
#CancelNetflix all started with this distasteful promotional poster:
The Twitter-sphere was horrified and rightfully called out Netflix for the poster’s obvious sexualisation of young girls’ bodies. Netflix was quick to apologise and released a statement explaining “we’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for ‘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.”
Yet things didn’t get better from there. The trailer was met with just as much disdain and calls for the film’s removal only heightened.
Cuties premiered on Netflix today, and the platform’s decision to stand by the film despite its controversial nature has caused the trending hashtag #CancelNetflix. Twitter was inundated with tweets like these:
— 2:31pm (@2_31pm) September 11, 2020
— Sizwe Mkhize (@CsayTweets) September 10, 2020
The 11 year old girls who were sexually exploited filming Cuties shot those scenes in front of a director, a DP, a gaffer, their parents, a choreographer, a MUA, a hair person, a camera assistant, a wardrobe person, extras and more. Not one adult protected them. #CancelNetflix
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) September 11, 2020
— Adnan Mohanad (@AdnanMohanad2) September 11, 2020
Despite this backlash, Cuties did receive some critical acclaim. Winning an award at Sundance, it was described as a film that “nimbly depicts the tweens’ youthful energy and vulnerabilities while exploring their fumbling eagerness to be identified as sexualized. Fathia Youssouf captivates as Amy, shifting like a chameleon between the different identities her character is juggling and deftly anchoring the film’s immensely watchable, vivacious young cast.”
The film claims to be critiquing how sexuality is force-fed to young girls, with the uncomfortable scenes intended to provoke a serious conversation. If this is the case, it’s possible that these more confronting scenes may have been taken out of context by the cancel-Netflixers.
That’s not to say that some of the content is not disturbing. The climactic (for lack of a better word) dance scene features sexually charged moves such as twerking and gyrating on the floor. The images are harrowing, but within the context of the film, they are allegedly intended to offer a critique of pop-culture’s hyper-sexualisation and the influence it has on young girls.
Rolling Stone gave the film three stars and ended their review by saying “the fact that so few will be willing to see Cuties all because of a major, misleading marketing mistake — that’s the tragedy.”
Perhaps it’s best to watch the film before we make any further judgements.