Cuties, a 2020 French film distributed internationally by Netflix, drew controversy after its release due to claims it sexualized children, particularly in response to the poster originally displayed on the streaming platform, which was subsequently changed.
Politicians and government officials in Turkey and the U.S. made various complaints, including calling for the investigation of “possible violations of child exploitation and child pornography laws” and asking for the film to be voluntarily removed by Netflix. U.S. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri informally invited Netflix to discuss the film “before Congress” in a tweet. U.S. Senator Mike Lee of Utah sent a letter directly to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, and requested “an explanation on [Hasting’s] views as to whether or not the potential exploitation of minors in this film constitutes criminal behavior”. U.S. House Representative and former Democratic primary contender Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii explicitly called the film “child porn” and that it would “whet the appetite of pedophiles [and] help fuel the child sex trafficking trade.” U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas sent a letter to the Department of Justice to “investigate whether Netflix, its executives, or the filmmakers violated any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography.” Christine Pelosi, daughter of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, stated that Cuties “hypersexualizes girls my daughter’s age no doubt to the delight of pedophiles like the ones I prosecuted.” Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Representative Jim Banks of Indiana also both criticised the film in separate statements calling for the DOJ to take legal action against Netflix, with Cotton saying “There’s no excuse for the sexualization of children, and Netflix’s decision to promote the film ‘Cuties’ is disgusting at best and a serious crime at worst”. Representatives Ken Buck of Colorado and Andy Biggs of Arizona also called for the Department of Justice to investigate. The state attorneys general of Ohio, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas have also written a letter to Netflix asking for removal of the film.
The film’s director, Maïmouna Doucouré, stated in defense of the film that it “tries to show that our children should have the time to be children, and we as adults should protect their innocence and keep them innocent as long as possible.” She also stated, “The problem, of course, is that they [preteens] are not women, and they don’t realize what they are doing…. The girls [portrayed in the film performing in the local dance contest] don’t have the maturity, however, to realize what their gestures and dance moves look like to the audience.”
On September 23, 2020, Netflix was indicted by a Texas grand jury for “promotion of lewd visual material depicting a child”.
Cancel campaign title(s): #cancelnetflix, #boycottnetflix
Cancel supported by: Tulsi Gabbard, representatives Ken Buck of Colorado and Andy Biggs of Arizona, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas
The film’s director, Maïmouna Doucouré, stated in defense of the film that it “tries to show that our children should have the time to be children, and we as adults should protect their innocence and keep them innocent as long as possible.”
Uncancel campaign title(s): n\a
Uncancel supported by: Maïmouna Doucouré (the film’s director)
Hypocrisy of cancel mob
Clear attempt to kill the messenger, it is hard to go against critically acclaimed movie as it was always common approach in art to work in provocative field. Instead mob decided to go simple route (as always) and initiate campaign against Netflix, the streaming provider who just published completely legit and critically aclaimed movie.