Throughout nearly six months of quarantining, in some small way Netflix has felt like a savior in offering an entertainment-starved nation an endless string of new content, including the Chris Hemsworth thriller Extraction, Spike Lee’s latest joint Da 5 Bloods, Charlize Theron’s supernatural actioner The Old Guard and the ubiquitous Tiger King.
The streaming giant was in hot water Thursday, though, and forced to apologize for marketing imagery used for their upcoming dance drama, Cuties, after it was widely criticized for sexualizing children.
The poster for the French-language film features four young skin-bearing girls, some in seductive poses that look straight out of a Cardi B video.
The backlash came quickly online, both through social media as well as a Change.org petition, urging Netflix to remove the title from its service receiving over 60,000 signatures.
“The thing about the Netflix campaign for Cuties is how disgustingly sexualized these girls are. Compare the poster and blurb from Netflix versus the ones on IMDb, s*** is as different as night and day,” wrote Weekend Warrior on Twitter. “Someone should get fired.” Weekend Warrior was far from alone.
The thing about the Netflix campaign for Cuties is how disgustingly sexualized these girls are. Compare the poster and blurb from Netflix versus the ones on IMDb, shit is as different as night and day.— Weekend Warrior (@wwarrior_1) August 20, 2020
Someone should get fired. pic.twitter.com/XrAL7njMBN
Disgusting! @Netflix sexualizing young girls. Barack & Big Mama Michelle have a deal w/ Netflix. Someone needs to ask the Obamas about this.— Jesse Lee Peterson (@JLPtalk) August 20, 2020
Netflix Apologizes For “Inappropriate” ‘Cuties’ Poster That Was Criticized For Sexualizing Children https://t.co/FDeGEw3rXC via @Deadline
Just looking at the damn poster for "Cuties" gives me the creeps 😬 🙅♀️ Is Netflix serious??— #WeLoveYouJennaMarbles (@deputy_mom) August 20, 2020
Of course, this has been going on for many many years.
How is this ok??? How am I supposed to raise my daughter in a world that sexualizes her like this??? pic.twitter.com/IkBRBTwSbA
Netflix apologized for its marketing gaffe soon after the criticism poured in for Cuties, which is known as Mignonnes in France and won the World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award when it premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival in January.
“We're deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties,” the streamer issued by tweet. “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.”
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 (@netflix) August 20, 2020
As IndieWire notes, the film — directed by French-Senegalese filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré — uses its “storyline to openly criticize the ways in which society puts pressure on young girls to be overtly sexual.” The coming-of-age tale stars Fathia Youssouf as Amy, an 11-year-old girl from a strict Senegales-Muslim family who joins a free-spirited dance clique named “Cuties.” According to the film’s official synopsis, the Cuties become aware of their own femininity through dance.
The original American poster then, was likely intended to center those themes, if in an obviously poorly conceived misstep.
Other users on social media have noted the stark contrast between the American and French posters.
its interesting to compare the french version of the cuties poster to the american version...— kitti (meow) (@yeetdere) August 20, 2020
like the French version has more "kids having fun!" vibes, while the American version is just fucking.... gross.
I feel like the #Netflix marketing team has a lot to answer for. pic.twitter.com/c8QrX0EY75
Cuties is scheduled for release Sept. 9 on Netflix.
Watch the trailer:
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