4Chan Bans All Images from Upcoming Netflix Movie 'Cuties'

Imageboard website 4Chan has allegedly opted to ban images from the upcoming Netflix film Cuties, saying that it sexualizes children.

The French film, which is due out September 9, tells the story of an 11 year old girl joining a dance group, named "Cuties." The French title for the film is Mignonnes. "Amy, 11 years old, tries to escape family dysfunction by joining a free-spirited dance clique named "Cuties," as they build their self confidence through dance," a synopsis in the description of the YouTube trailer states.

The film had already received backlash from people, including a petition calling for Netflix to take the film off its service. Many users took issue with a poster that depicts the film's stars in revealing clothing as well as stating that the main character joins a "twerking dance crew." Netflix has since updated the poster and changed the language on the service to reflect a "free-spirited dance crew."

In a statement, a Netflix spokesperson said that the film was misrepresented by the poster and description. "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," a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. The film did indeed make its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January to rave reviews. It currently has an 82 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

A screenshot shared to the 4Chan subreddit criticized Netflix and promised to give anyone who posted content from the show the boot. "Do not post any imagery from this show which sexualizes children. Anyone posting images or videos sexualizing children will receive permanent bans," the moderator wrote in the post. "Netflix may allow this crap, 4chan does not."

There have been other threads on 4Chan posted that have continued to criticize the film ahead of its release, as well as the streaming service's decision to release it. In a since-archived thread, one user asked other posters what they thought of the film. "Is it about 'exploring femininity' or is it pedophilia?" the user wrote, receiving many responses criticizing the movie.

One user made a post defending the film, saying that the film is actually a commentary on sexualizing young girls, and the people making the criticisms miss the point. "This film is about how internet culture is sexualising [sic] young girls and how hypersexualisation [sic] of women by entertainment media is damaging to girls," the user wrote. "This film is made by a Muslim women who is critiquing modern feminism. The outrage caused by this film is literally proving every point she is trying to make about society."

Cuties director Maïmouna Doucouré has indeed spoken about some of the sexualization that she witnessed that inspired the film. In an interview with Screen Daily, the director explained that the inspiration came from seeing young girls perform in a sexually suggestive fashion. "They danced in a very sexually suggestive manner. There also happened to be a number of African mothers in the audience. I was transfixed, watching with a mixture of shock and admiration. I asked myself if these young girls understood what they were doing," she said.

Doucouré further explained that in her research for the film she found that social media played a large part in influencing the ways young people portray themselves. "I came to understand that an existence on social networks was extremely important for these youngsters and that often they were trying to imitate the images they saw around them, in adverts or on the social networks," she told Screen Daily.

A press contact for 4Chan did not respond to Newsweek's emailed request for comment in time for publication.

The main cast of "Cuties" on Netflix. The film was released to much acclaim at Sundance in January. Netflix