'Cuties' Backlash: Film Causes Huge Spike in Netflix Cancelations

Cuties/Mignonnes generated a huge backlash against people who accused the movie of sexualizing young girls, leading multiple people to launch campaigns encouraging people to cancel their Netflix subscriptions.

Though, as previously reported by Newsweek, the backlash around the movie has probably made more people watch the movie rather than less, the controversy may have led to a spike in Netflix subscriptions cancellations.

According to data analytics campaign YipitData, the Netflix cancellation rate was eight times higher than the average daily level on Saturday, September 12, suggesting some viewers may have taken the decision encouraged in the viral hashtag to #CancelNetflix.

However, this does not tell the full story. Though the firm revealed that there was an eightfold increase in cancelations, it did not reveal what the usual rate of what Netflix calls "churn" is. An eight times increase, after all, sounds big, but if only a low number of people cancel their subscriptions every day, this might still be a relatively small number or, alternatively, a significant one.

Netflix, however, does not reveal this information, so it is difficult to know the exact success of the campaign. However, with Netflix currently having around 193 million paid subscribers (including 25.9 million new subscribers in the last six months), it is unlikely that enough subscribers have canceled their accounts to make it a big concern for the streamer.

cuties netflix
'Cuties' has been hit with criticism since Netflix announced it would be streaming the movie. Netflix

The movie, however, remains a success for the streaming service, with Cuties still at number four on the Netflix movies charts, a place it has held since the weekend.

The price of Netflix stock is still down following the hashtag #CancelNetflix trending. Before Cuties was released on the platform, Netflix stock was trading at $507.02, and is currently trading at $483.86 at the time of writing. However, this is still way up from where the stock was a year ago ($298), six months ago ($319.75), and is around the same value as a month ago ($482.35).

Most recently, Cuties director Maimouna Doucouré defended the film in a UniFrance panel, in which she pointed out that the film was well-received and controversy-free when she won a directing award for the movie at the Sundance Film Festival.

In this panel, she blamed the backlash on a poster Netflix released showing the four leads in dance costumes (which, as numerous writers have pointed out, are pretty identical to those worn by the girls in relatively uncontroversial reality shows like Dance Moms) and in poses often seen in hip hop dance videos. The director said of this, "the controversy started with that artwork... The most important [thing] is to watch the film and understand we have the same fight."

She later added: "I thought the film would be accepted. It played to Sundance and was watched by American people there; I met the public there and they really saw that the film is about a universal issue. It's not about French society—the hyper-sexualization of children happens through social media and social media is everywhere. People [at Sundance] agreed with that."

Cuties is streaming now on Netflix