Netflix is responding to backlash surrounding one of its controversial streamable movies.
Earlier this week, the hashtag #CancelNetflix began trending on social media as some users accused the new film Cuties, directed by Maïmouna Doucouré, of sexualizing young children. Amid the backlash, Netflix issued a statement defending the movie and its "social commentary."
“Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children,” a Netflix spokesperson told PEOPLE in a statement. “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.”
Cuties, which is rated TV-MA on the streaming platform, follows Amy (Fathia Youssouf), an 11-year-old girl from Senegal who joins a dance team dubbed "the Cuties" at her school and gradually rebels from her traditional, conservative family.
While the coming-of-age film, originally titled Mignonnes, has been criticized, it's been praised by many — including film critics – for its handling of sensitive topics. It was also well received at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the world cinema dramatic directing award.
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Last month, Netflix issued a public apology following backlash over the marketing poster created for Cuties, with critics claiming that it sexualized children. The controversial poster featured the four young girls in the film dressed in revealing dance outfits while striking suggestive dance poses.
"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," Netflix tweeted on Aug. 20. "We’ve now updated the pictures and description."
Cuties is now streaming on Netflix.
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