Netflix has apologised after a poster advertising an upcoming film was accused of sexualising children.
The poster for the film “Cuties” received widespread criticism earlier this week after it showed pre-teen actresses in dance costumes posing in a suggestive manner.
The Netflix description of the film read: “Amy, 11, becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew. Hoping to join them, she starts to explore her femininity, defying her family’s traditions.”
A petition signed by over 100,000 people called for Netflix to remove the film, saying:
“This movie/show is disgusting as it sexualizes an ELEVEN year old for the viewing pleasure of pedophiles and also negatively influences our children! There is no need for this kind of content in that age group, especially when sex trafficking and pedophilia are so rampant!”
The streaming service has now apologised for the poster, tweeting on Thursday: “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 premiered at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description.”
The updated description now reads: “Eleven-year-old Amy starts to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew.” The poster now depicts the lead actress looking over her shoulder.
Filmmaker Mainmouna Doucouré previously told Cineuropa that she made “Cuties” to expose the dangers of social media to children. She recalled going to a neighbourhood party where “a group of young girls aged around 11 years old [were] going up on stage and dancing in a very sensual way while wearing very revealing clothes.”
“I was rather shocked and I wondered if they were aware of the image of sexual availability that they were projecting,” she added.
“Today, the sexier and the more objectified a woman is, the more value she has in the eyes of social media,” Doucouré continued. “And when you’re 11, you don’t really understand all these mechanisms, but you tend to mimic, to do the same thing as others in order to get a similar result. I think it is urgent that we talk about it, that a debate be had on the subject.”