Netflix Movie ‘Cuties’ Accused Of Being Pedophilic Propaganda, Defenders Say It’s An Important Art Work
Controversy over Cuties, a new movie on Netflix, has erupted on social media as critics debate whether it is condemning pedophilia or encouraging it. Its director, Maïmouna Doucouré, won the world cinema dramatic directing award for the film at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, and was receiving generally positive reviews from critics before it was released on Netflix – so what went wrong?
As shown in the above trailer, the movie follows an 11-year-old Senegalese-Muslim girl as she learns about traditional values at home and learns about internet culture and sexuality through an adult-style adolescent dance group called Cuties. Though the official trailer focuses more on the main character’s home life and newfound friends than her dancing, what initially caught social media attention was the image used for Netflix’s ad campaign.
Both posters are for the same movie.
— rip cruel summer, hello folklore (@CarineK) August 20, 2020
Netflix later apologized and changed the film’s promotional posters to the original on the right, but criticism had already begun flooding in.
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
Now, with the full film having made its debut on Netflix and becoming the seventh most popular movie on the site today, arguments on Twitter are in full swing. The majority of the tweets are against Cuties, and many believe that, regardless of whether or not the movie’s intent, the movie is a depiction of pedophilia.
“Cuties” not only includes many close up shots of little girl’s crotches and butts, the film also shows little girls discussing sexual acts, watching pornography, depicts a child photographing her genitalia, and more.https://t.co/HNPmnq9aaB
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) September 10, 2020
I watched ‘Cuties’ & my general takeaway is that film is irresponsible filmmaking. What’s sad is that a good chunk of it is workable, & it has a core message worth exploring, but thanks to questionable directing it becomes irredeemably gross.
My latest: https://t.co/CpMEhCtqQQ
— Sophia (Insert joke here) Narwitz (@SophNar0747) September 11, 2020
I get that Cuties was suppose to be a commentary one the exploitation of children but I feel like they could’ve done that without actually exploiting children. Like, there are actual pe*os on this app getting off to that movie so I think the director kinda missed her mark.
— Jayde🦦 (@jayde_ram) September 11, 2020
Meanwhile, defenders of the movie – including Netflix itself – implore hasty critics to watch the film.
“‘Cuties’ is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children,” a spokesperson for the streaming platform said. “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.”
I’ve watched it. Yet, after reading most of the blind rage about this film, (operative word: blind), The irony is the director/creator of this film is in your camp. If this were a documentary, you’d be cheering for its viewing. Boycott Tic Tic and Instagram.
— m109 (@azvzr1800) September 10, 2020
Good morning, I see the harassment has started over my latest @ebertvoices review. Might be logging off for a bit. 👋 In the meantime, here’s why they’re mad. Give it a click, watch the movie for yourself and don’t @ me: https://t.co/d6c4CuEMGm
— Monica Castillo (@mcastimovies) September 10, 2020
Many supporters also ask those protesting the film to consider its context, as the film was based on real-world viral videos and experiences Doucouré had. Doucouré herself wanted the film to carry a message against the objectification of young women – the opposite of what most viewers ultimately saw.
Here’s the creator of the film cuties explaining her reasoning for making the film, and the moral message (pedophilia is wrong and the west is sick)
Actually watch this, and you’ll understand that the producers & netflix did not understand this at all when they released it pic.twitter.com/KoWD9W1tsD
— sunny🌙🌾 (HRT SURVIVOR & Ph.D) (@VEDIC_CYBERGOD) September 10, 2020
11 year old girls are watching Cardi B videos & copying viral tik tok hypersexualized dances & posting them publicly. That’s what the issue *actually* is. Morons. I am not talking about this anymore.
— R.Сам 🦋🐏 (@Logo_Daedalus) September 11, 2020
With all the controversy, Republican politicians and commentators have begun to give a political spin to the movie, focusing on how former first lady Michelle Obama and diplomat and advisor Susan Rice are both Netflix stakeholders.
Three people (Michelle, Obama, and Susan) that can never shut up are suddenly dead silent…wonder why? 🤔https://t.co/1zH8oKoduw
— W.E. Dupree (@WayneDupreeShow) September 11, 2020
Who else wants to bet that there was a Cuties watch party at the Obama household tonight with plenty of hotdogs & pizza?
Yes, Susan Rice was there too.
— Machiavelli (@TheRISEofROD) September 11, 2020
It’s strange how Netflix is promoting “Cuties” (a show that sexualizes 11 year old girls) and not a single corporate media reporter has asked Netflix employees Susan Rice or Michelle Obama why they haven’t condemned the show.
— Emerald Robinson ✝️ (@EmeraldRobinson) September 10, 2020
Despite its 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 68% positive critic reviews on Metacritic, criticism for Cuties is widespread and far reaching. Currently, there are no plans on Netflix’s part to take it down, and only time will tell what the ultimate effects of the polarizing movie and its many critics and supporters will be.
This has been allowed & cheered for years. Search kids dance competition on YouTube & you’ll find tons of examples from real life where parents are cheering for their own kids dressed & dancing like Cuties. The point is there’s nothing worth emulating in popular culture.
— Becky (@HotWheelsJusty) September 11, 2020