AUSTIN (KXAN) – Over the weekend, the hashtag #CancelNetflix was popular on social media for its ongoing backlash against the French movie “Cuties,” which caused a stir in America after the film made its way to streaming giant Netflix.
Cuties, a coming-of-age drama about an 11-year-old Senegalese girl in Paris, tells of her journey to befriend a group of dancers of the same age.
However, the content of the film was not necessarily the reason for the outrage.
The original US poster for “Cuties” differed from the French version, which featured the young cast of the film in more subdued clothing (pants, jackets). The US cover, meanwhile, showed the cast in two-piece dance attire posing suggestively.
The makers of the film, along with Netflix, have defended the film directed by women, they say criticism the sexualization of pre-teen girls, according to a Netflix statement.
“‘Cuties’ is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children,” a spokesman said Thursday. “It’s an award-winning film and a powerful story of the pressures facing young girls on social media and from society at large – and we would encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch it.”
However, the streaming company apologized for the film’s US poster and immediately removed it.
“Cuties” has also caught the attention of “#SaveTheChildren” QAnon conspiracy theorists, who believe a “deep state” organization of Satan-worshiping Hollywood elites and Democratic politicians is sexually trafficking children.
On Friday, conservative Texas Senator Ted Cruz joined a group of Washington politicians who wrote to Attorney General William Barr calling for an investigation into whether Netflix has violated federal laws against child pornography.
In his letterCruz wrote: “The film routinely fetishizes and sexualizes these pre-adolescent girls as they perform dances that simulate sexual behavior in revealing clothing, including at least one scene of partial child nudity.”
Cruz argues that an investigation – and prosecution – would obtain “justice” for victims of child sexual abuse.
Meanwhile, former Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard voiced her displeasure with the film via Twitter, claiming it would aid in the child sex trade.
Other lawmakers slamming the movie include Republican Senator Tom Cotton and Republican Representative Jim Banks.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley tweeted a letter to Netflix Asking the company to answer a series of questions, including whether there was protection for the underage actors and why the US poster was included at all.
Director Maïmouna Doucouré won an award for directing “Cuties,” and the film currently has an 89% critical consensus on Rotten Tomatoes’ aggregator.
Critic Richard Brody, from the New Yorker, summed up what he considers the film and its main argument:
In fact, the subject of the film is quite the opposite: it dramatizes the difficulties of growing up as a woman in a sexualized and commercialized media culture. I doubt the scandal-mongers (including some well-known figures of the far right) actually saw “Cuties,” but some elements of the film that weren’t featured in the commercials would certainly annoy them: it’s the story of one’s outrage. girl about and resisting a patriarchal order. “