Netflix responds to backlash over French film Cuties after users threaten to cancel subscriptions over ‘sexualisation’ of young girls

Netflix responds to backlash over French film Cuties after users threaten to cancel subscriptions over ‘sexualisation’ of young girls

Some Netflix subscribers are cancelling their accounts and calling for others to follow suit due to its marketing of a new film which has been accused of ‘sexualising’ underage girls.

The French film Cuties was released on the platform on September 9, and follows an 11-year-old Senegalese Muslim girl named Amy who lives in one of Paris’ poorest neighbourhoods.

She becomes fascinated by her neighbour Angelica’s twerking class called Cuties, which stands in stark contrast to Amy’s strict and traditional upbringing.

The film won a Directing Award for Maïmouna Doucouré at Sundance Film Festival, and has received generally positive reviews from critics.

Doucouré has said she came up with the concept for the film after seeing “a group of young girls aged around 11 years old going up on stage and dancing in a very sensual way while wearing very revealing clothes.”

However, many Netflix users have taken issue with the marketing of the film and the story itself, calling for other users to delete their accounts.

The hashtag #cancelnetflix is trending today as a result.

“#CancelNetflix because sexualizing 11 year olds and having a movie about them for 18+ year olds is clearly feeding pedophilia,” wrote one Twitter user.

“About to end a decade long relationship with @netflix,” wrote another. “As a dad of an 11 y.o. daughter, this is so unacceptable. Their stubborn defense of it is what’s costing them another customer. No amount of pedophilia is acceptable. #CancelNetflix”

A third wrote: “18+ movie about 11yo girls ?!!! #CancelNetflix.”

A Netflix spokesperson responded: “Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualisation of young children.

“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.”

Addressing the initial wave of controversy surrounding Cuties back in August when Netflix revealed the poster for the film, the streaming platform told the Evening Standard: “This was not an accurate representation of the film so the image and description has been updated.”

The film has received a number of positive reviews from critics, with The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney saying the film has a “critical view of a culture that steers impressionable young girls toward the hypersexualisation of their bodies”.