French Film ‘Cuties’ Comes Under Fire as #CancelNetflix Trends
Social media users are outraging against the acclaimed French film again.
The french film Cuties, directed by Maïmouna Doucouré, started streaming on Netflix on 9 September. Despite being critically acclaimed and winning the World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award at Sundance Film Festival 2020, the film has found itself embroiled in a recent controversy with hashtags like #CancelNetflix trending on social media.
What is 'Cuties'?
Cuties is the story of an 11-year-old Senegalese Muslim girl Amy living in Paris. Amy finds herself deeply fascinated by her neighbour Angelica's dance group called 'Cuties.' Angelica's twerking stands in stark contrast to Amy's relatively disciplined and traditional upbringing and motivates Amy to protest against her family and join Cuties.
According to the makers of the film, Cuties is meant to spark conversations around the sexualisation of underage girls.
How Did The Controversy Begin?
Cuties first came under fire in August when Netflix released a poster of the film on its platform. The promotional image used by Netflix was different from the film's original poster. The latter featured young girls posing provocatively. A Twitter user pointed out that Netflix's poster looked like "the hyper-sexualization of preadolescent girls" while the original poster looked like "a teen drama comedy coming-of-age story...that comments on the hyper-sexualization of preadolescent girls."
Netflix immediately made the necessary changes and issued an apology saying, "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 also sent a personal apology to the filmmaker.
The release of Cuties' trailer on Netflix drew some criticism with social media users demanding that Netflix not release the film for its pedophilic nature. According to the New York Times, the demand to not release the film gained traction among people who support QAnon conspiracy theory.
However, that wasn't the end of it. The official release of Cuties on Netflix has sparked outrage once again on social media. #CancelNetflix started trending on Twitter with users alleging that it was wrong for a film that "sexualised 11-year-olds" to be targeted at an 18+ audience. Users said that the film is feeding "pedophilia" and called it "child porn."
Take a look:
Some users also posted screenshots of them cancelling their Netflix membership with the hashtag.
Alleged supporters of these conspiracy theories have been harassing critics who reviewed the film positively on social media.
According to Buzzfeed News, "The #SaveTheChildren theorists on Instagram are a loud and growing group of people, many of whom are young white mothers who insist that human trafficking is an extensive and insidious problem" that is not being covered by the media.
According to The Verge, this is not an isolated incident. Tech companies like Netflix, which are known for their "liberal-leaning policies" have, in the past, faced the wrath of conservative and right-wing groups.
What Does The Filmmaker Say?
Maïmouna Doucouré, the filmmaker of Cuties, told the Deadline that Cuties was her "personal story as well as the story of many children who have to navigate between a liberal Western culture and a conservative culture at home."
She also revealed that in light of the controversy, Doucouré has received many attacks on her "character" from people who hadn't even seen the film but assumed that Cuties defended the hypersexualisation of underage girls.
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