The backlash against streaming giant Netflix continues to escalate around the world over the release of the preteen dance competition film Cuties, with the hashtag #CancelNetflix becoming a top trend on Twitter as critics accuse the California company of sexualizing children.
The film, which was released on Wednesday, is described as a French coming-of-age comedy-drama where the protagonist is an 11-year-old Senagalese Muslim girl from a traditional yet dysfunctional family who joins a dance group known as Mignonnes, also the French name of the film.
People were quick to denounce the film’s release on social media, with many accusing it of condoning pedophilia because of its highly sexualized content.
Top UK trend is #CancelNetflix
— ZUBY: (@ZubyMusic) September 10, 2020
Are we really surprised that a company that would give contracts to Obama, Susan Rice and is partially owned by Soros condones pedophilia and child-twerking?#CancelNetflix
— DeAnna Lorraine 🇺🇸 (@DeAnna4Congress) September 10, 2020
Netflix condones Pedophilia.
Pass it on. #CancelNetflix
— Evan Kilgore 🇺🇸 (@EvanAKilgore) September 10, 2020
Watching the left defend pedophilia is peak 2020. #CancelNetflix.
— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) September 10, 2020
Following the film’s release, around 600,000 people also signed a petition pledging to cancel their Netflix subscription because of Cuties and other content they deem appropriate such as the animated sitcom Big Mouth.
“As I have been researching content that exploits children and creates a disturbing vibe, I have found many shows and movies on Netflix to have similar inappropriate behaviors as Cuties, the movie this petition was originally based off,” the latest petition notes.
“As Netflix has chosen to ignore the petition and the wishes of its customers, I feel we need to ban together and cancel our subscriptions,” the petition continues. “From cuties to Big Mouth to other movies mocking religions and exploiting children Netflix is no longer the family-friendly streaming service I one believed it to be!”
Anger over the film was also the result of a promotional image that showed girls posing in skimpy outfits, a poster for which Netflix has since apologized.
“We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties,” the company responded at the time. “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
Last month, over 340,000 signed a petition demanding that Netflix cancel the film’s release, denouncing its content as dangerous.
“This movie/show is disgusting as it sexualizes an ELEVEN-year-old for the viewing pleasure of pedophiles and also negatively influences our children!” read the petition on the Change.org website. “There is no need for this kind of content in that age group, especially when sex trafficking and pedophilia are so rampant! There is no excuse, this is dangerous content!”
It is not the first time that Netflix has produced content accused of endorsing the sexualization of children. In 2018, the teen Italian drama Baby was accused of glorifying the sex trafficking of teenagers. In 2017, Netflix released the Spanish film Desire, which saw a prepubescent depicted masturbating.