Netflix defended the newly released “Cuties” in a Thursday evening statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation, calling the film “powerful” and “award-winning.”
“Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children,” a Netflix spokeswoman told the DCNF late Thursday.
“It’s an award-winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up — and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”
The statement comes after the film ignited furor on social media over its representations of young girls participating in suggestive dancing.
“Cuties” not only includes many close-up shots of little girl’s crotches and buttocks, but the film also links young girls to pornography, and includes discussions of sexual acts, a child photographing her genitalia and more, a review by the DCNF found.
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri took to Twitter to comment on Netflix’s response to the backlash:
“Great. Maybe @Netflix would like to come talk this over before congress,” he tweeted.
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) September 11, 2020
After initial criticism of “Cuties” when the film’s trailer was released, Netflix apologized for the artwork promoting the movie.
“We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties,” a Netflix spokeswoman told the DCNF on Aug. 20. “It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which premiered at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description.”
The posters, which have since been updated, depicted the young girls dressed in the outfits that they wear in the final dance competition striking suggestive poses. The posters closely resemble the actual dancing that occurs in “Cuties” during that final dance scene.
“I discovered the poster [at] the same time as the American public,” director Maïmouna Doucouré said in an early September interview with Deadline.
“My reaction? It was a strange experience. I hadn’t seen the poster until after I started getting all these reactions on social media, direct messages from people, attacks on me. I didn’t understand what was going on. That was when I went and saw what the poster looked like.”
“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 hypersexualization of children,” she said.
The director said she hoped “Cuties” would “make a big change in this world that hypersexualizes children” and said that the Netflix posters were “not representative of the film and especially its message.”
“I really put my heart into this film,” Doucouré told Deadline.
“It’s actually my personal story as well as the story of many children who have to navigate between a liberal Western culture and a conservative culture at home.”
“Hopefully they will understand that we’re actually on the same side of this battle,” she said of critics ahead of the film’s release.
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