Netflix has once again come under fire for giving controversial French film Cuties a spot on its streaming platform.
Global streaming giant Netflix has found themselves in hot water for their decision to include the 2020 French film Cuties on their site. The film is centred around an 11-year-old immigrant girl living in Paris who wants to join a local dance crew. The film is intended as a social commentary on the sexualisation of young children in a hyper-digital world, and when it debuted at the Sundance film festival, it was met with positive reviews.
However, since Netflix added it to their archives, many people have blown up over the controversial film, outraged over its provocative and overtly sexualised representation of young girls.
A grand jury indictment was filed on September 23 in Tyler County, Texas, over the ‘promotion of lewd visual material depicting a child’. The indictment states that Netflix promoted, distributed, and exhibited material which “depicts the lewd exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a clothed or partially clothed child who was younger than 18 years of age” for the “prurient interest in sex.” It also states that the material held no serious “literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”
Last month, Netflix apologised for their use of a photo, which showed the young girls in sexualised dancing positions, in a promotional poster for the film. It was this image that sparked much of the initial criticism.
“We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties,” Netflix tweeted. “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.”
It should be taken off of your platform Immediately! The sexualization of children is not “art” nor is it classified as “freedom of expression”. This is disgusting & disappointing! Protect these children! STOP exploiting them!
— Denim Richards (@DenimRichards) August 20, 2020
However, the claim that representatives calling for the indictment are making – that the film depicts ‘child pornography’ – is rather far-fetched. There is no underage nudity in the film, rather it encourages us to think deeper about the sexualisation of young girls in the age of social media.
Does this mean thousands of people are gonna cancel dance studios, competitions, and reality shows now too? Cause umm… pic.twitter.com/JIUdioogmQ
— くコ:彡♫•*¨*•.¸¸♪♡ (@squidmango) August 21, 2020
Filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré states: “I’m hoping that these people will watch the movie now that it’s out… I’m eager to see their reaction when they realize that we’re both on the same side of this fight against young children’s hypersexualization.”
Netflix defends their stance on the film after news of the indictment, reporting to Deadline that “Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children…This charge is without merit and we stand by the film.”
This movie was made by a black woman who criticises hyper sexualisation of children. Netflix marketing ruined everything. The movie is actually really good!
— Andee (@Andee_s_den) August 20, 2020
We’ll keep you posted on more as in unfolds.