Netflix has apologized for marketing materials it distributed promoting the film Cuties. The coming-of-age film, which earned the World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival, also goes by the French title Mignonnes.
The streaming service posted a film poster featuring the children through what some considered a hyper-sexualized lens: the girls in slim fit, revealing outfits and dancing in suggestive positions. It has been removed and replaced with another option.
The promotional materials sparked a huge backlash. On change.org, a petition demanded the film’s appearance on the platform be canceled based on assumptions it intended to sexualize young girls. The petition has over 150,000 signatures at press time.
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Netflix issued a statement apologizing for their choice and assures the public the poster was not representative of the message the story sends to audiences.
“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.”
Cuties follows the story of Amy, a Senegalese 11-year-old played by Fathia Youssouf. The young girl gets close with a dance troupe at her school and starts to embrace her emerging femininity but she’s soon faced with how her friends attitudes and activities conflict with the Muslim faith and values of her Senegalese family.
It was written and directed by Maïmouna Doucouré.