Netflix Response to ‘Cuties’: Apology Prompted by Petition & Controversy

Cuties on Netflix

Netflix 'Cuties' on Netflix has a TV-MA rating.

Netflix has issued an apology in response to the backlash over “Cuties,” but have not announced plans to remove the French coming-of-age film.

The film is a coming-of-age movie about an 11-year-old girl who joins a dance crew. A campaign to remove the film from Netflix said it sexualizes young girls. Netflix removed the poster used for the film and changed the description of the movie, but has not announced plans to scrap the film.

The petition to remove “Cuties” from Netflix had nearly 88,000 signatures on the evening of Thursday, August 20, 2020.

Here’s what you need to know:

Netflix Issued an Apology on ‘Cuties’ for Its Poster & Film Description, Changing Both

Netflix issued an apology in response to the controversy over ‘Cuties,” and changed the poster for the movie and its film description. However, they have announced no plans to cancel the TV-MA-rated movie.

“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 said in a statement.

The film was originally called “Mignonnes.” It premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, and won a jury award for directing.

A response to the apology was published in an update on the petition.

“The problem is they are ELEVEN,” the update said. “This problem isn’t the artwork. It’s the fact it’s about twerking 11 year olds for adult viewing pleasure.”

The original poster used to promote the movie on Netflix showed young girls in provocative poses and costumes. People on social media called the poster “disgusting,” “upsetting” and “sick.” The film is set to debut globally on Netflix September 9.

The original description said, “Amy, 11, becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew. Hoping to join them, she starts to explore her femininity…”

The petition described the film as “dangerous content” which sexualizes pre-teens and serves as a bad influence to children.

“This movie/show is disgusting as it sexualizes an ELEVEN year old for the viewing pleasure of pedophiles and also negatively influences our children! There is no need for this kind of content in that age group, especially when sex trafficking and pedophilia are so rampant! There is no excuse, this is dangerous content!” the petition said.

Director Maïmouna Doucouré Defended the Film, Saying ‘This Isn’t a Health & Safety Ad

Cuties Director Maïmouna Doucouré defended her film in an interview with Cineuropa. She said the film was partially based on her experiences as a child, and believes children still share those experiences.

“This isn’t a health & safety ad,” Doucouré told Cineuropa. “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.”

The idea for the story was borne from a shocking experience she had watching pre-teen girls dancing in a provocative way, she told the publication. It made her reflect on her own experiences growing up, and she began interviewing pre-teens with their parents’ permission. Her own story, and others of modern pre-teens, informed the film, she said.

READ NEXT: Maimouna Doucoure, ‘Cuties’ Director: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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