Report: Netflix Sees Massive Spike in Cancellations Amid 'Cuties' Backlash
Netflix subscription cancellations in the United States surged last weekend as the streaming service faced backlash over “Cuties” and the film’s sexualization of young children, according to data compiled by research company YipitData.
The data shows Netflix U.S. subscriber churn rates — a metric that measures how customers drop subscription services — began to rise on Sept. 10, the day after the film’s release on Netflix when “#CancelNetflix” was trending on Twitter, Variety reported.
On Saturday, Sept. 12, Netflix’s cancellation rate reached a multiyear high and jumped nearly eight times higher than the average daily levels recorded in August.
YipitData told Variety that it is possible for the churn rate to continue to rise in the coming days with the “#CancelNetflix” hashtag still trending.
The impact the elevated churn rate will have on Netflix’s overall subscribers is unclear at this time.
During the first six months of 2020, about 25.9 million new subscribers worldwide signed up for the streaming service, reportedly stimulated by the coronavirus pandemic keeping many people in their homes.
It is possible YipitData’s numbers only show a short timeframe of cancellations that could turn back around in a matter of days.
Netflix has defended “Cuties,” which centers on an 11-year-old Senegalese girl living in Paris who joins a “free-spirited dance clique” to rebel against her family.
“Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children,” a Netflix spokeswoman told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“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.”
Rep. Ken Buck joined a growing number of lawmakers calling on the #DOJ to carry out an investigation into #Netflix over the release of the controversial film “#Cuties.”
They said certain scenes in the film “stimulates the child sex trafficking trade.” https://t.co/0gGmFK55LC
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) September 16, 2020
The film premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and writer-director Maïmouna Doucouré won the world cinema dramatic directing award for her work.
Doucouré defended her film and told the Hollywood Reporter Monday that it was meant to spark commentary and change.
“It’s because I saw so many things and so many issues around me lived by young girls, that I decided to make this film and sound an alarm and say, ‘We need to protect our children,'” she said.
“It’s bold, its feminist, but it’s so important and necessary to create debate and try to find solutions, for me as an artist, for politicians and parents. It’s a real issue.”
A growing list of lawmakers condemned Netflix over its release of the film.
Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii slammed Netflix on Friday, describing “Cuties” as “child porn” and accusing the streaming giant of fueling pedophilia and human trafficking.
“[Netflix] child porn ‘Cuties’ will certainly whet the appetite of pedophiles & help fuel the child sex trafficking trade,” she tweeted. “1 in 4 victims of trafficking are children. It happened to my friend’s 13 year old daughter. Netflix, you are now complicit.”
In a letter to Attorney General William Barr, Sen. Ted Cruz asked for a Department of Justice investigation into Netflix.
“The video streaming service and content-producer Netflix is currently hosting a film entitled ‘Cuties’ that sexualizes young girls, including through dance scenes that simulate sexual activities and a scene exposing a minor’s bare breast,” the Texas Republican wrote Friday.
“I urge the Department of Justice to investigate the production and distribution of this film to determine whether Netflix, its executives, or the individuals involved in the filming and production of ‘Cuties’ violated any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography.”
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