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.

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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.”

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.

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“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.”

Do you think Netflix should remove 'Cuties'?

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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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith