If you’re waking up to the #CancelNetflix hashtag all over your timeline and are wondering why the internet is trying to destroy the one thing that got us all through quarantine, here’s the reason.
The backlash began in August after promotional photos were released for the controversial film, Cuties. The film, based in Paris, follows a young Senegalese girl who joins a dance group to escape her dysfunctional family life. Netflix’s promotional shots for the movie showed the young stars in provocative poses and revealing costumes, leading many to call out the subscription service for sexualising children.
Netflix swiftly apologised, saying the photo was “not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which premiered at Sundance.” Cuties first premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, for which filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré won the world cinema dramatic directing award.
Fast forward to when Cuties premiered on Netflix September 9th, and critics are even more outraged by the film’s portrayal of young girls, particularly the dance choreography and provocative costumes. This led to the #CancelNetflix hashtag, which is currently trending worldwide. It reached No. 1 in the U.S. on Thursday.
“A director on the Cuties set and a choreographer told 11 year olds to stimulate sexual moves repeatedly. What they did should have them charged and registered as sex offenders,” director Robby Starbuck tweeted.
Many have also criticised the way conservative publications and advocacy groups have used the backlash to push their right-wing agenda. Others think this criticism is invalid, as alleged “pedophilic” content should never be defended.
“Cuties is disgusting, exploitation of kids is disgusting, and we should all be united in this,” wrote influencer Blair White on the backlash turning political.
The impact of this negatively publicity has already extended beyond the viral space, with Netflix stock plummeting since Cuties was released.
Netflix has not publicly commented at the time of publication, but here’s hoping they take accountability and remove the film from their platform.