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11th Sep 2020

“Cancel Netflix” trending after new movie that “sexualises children”

Trine Jensen-Burke

“Amy, 11, becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew…”

“Cancel Netflix” is trending following the release of a new film on the platform.

Cuties, according to Netflix, follows Amy, an 11-year-old Muslim girl who joins a group of dancers named “The Cuties” at school and rapidly grows aware of her burgeoning femininity — upsetting her mother and her values.

The movie won the World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award at the Sundance film festival this year, and is also rated high on other movie review websites, such as Rotten Tomatoes, with critics praising the movie for its handling of sensitive topics.

However, once the movie’s ad landed on Netflix ahead of Cuties‘ September release date, the streaming platform has found itself in hot water, and on the receiving end of some serious backlash.

Thousands took to Twitter to vent their thoughts on the movie’s artworks, with many saying the poster sexualises children. One Twitter user called it “disgusting,” while another said, “Netflix really messed up here.” 

What is turning out to be an even bigger fail on Netflix’ part, is that the movie’s original French poster was vastly different:

Spot the difference? Yeah, you are not alone.

And it didn’t stop there, actually. It seems Netflix went with a bit of a different blurb to describe the movie too:

The original description of the film reads: “Amy an 11-year-old joins a group of dancers called ‘the cuties’ at school, and rapidly grows aware of her burgeoning femininity – upsetting her mother and her values in the process”.

However, the Netflix description reads: “Amy, 11, becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew. Hoping to join them, she starts to explore her femininity, defying her family’s traditions.”

It is no wonder, then, that many were keen to point out to Netflix that they had totally missed the mark with this one.

In the wake of the furious backlash, Netflix issued a swift apology, confirming to Deadline that it had removed the “inappropriate artwork” used to promote the movie, while also updating the film’s blurb on its website.

“We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Cuties,” a spokesperson for the site said. “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 blurb on the Netflix website no longer contains any mention of twerking, and instead highlights central character Amy’s “rebellion” against her family’s strict ethos.

“Eleven-year-old Amy stars to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew,” it now reads.

Despite this, many Twitter users still remain adamant that the film itself is encouraging the sexualisation of children, giving its 18+ rating.

The film was released on September 9.