'Cuties' Netflix Film Causes Outrage for Poster 'Sexualizing' Children

The poster for a new Netflix film, Cuties, has caused outrage amid claims it is sexualizing the child actors.

The streaming giant is facing backlash for its promotional poster for the French film, whose young stars are 11-years-old. The promo image in question shows the children wearing revealing dance attire of shorts and crop tops and striking various dance poses, like kneeling on the floor and squatting.

Cuties, titled Mignonnes in French, is described as a coming of age film, and the trailer advertises a film typical of the genre; girl moves to a new place, tries to fit in, deals with conservative family at odds with new friends and interests.

Cuties
The main cast of "Cuties" on Netflix. Netflix

It follows a young girl from a traditional Senegalese Muslim household who joins a dance group and was written and directed by Maïmouna Doucouré. The film won won the directing award in the dramatic world cinema category at the Sundance Film Festival this year.

The synopsis reads: "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."

Newsweek reached out to Netflix for a comment about the nature of the poster used to advertise the film, but did not receive a reply at the time of reporting.

A petition, signed by more than 30,000 people has been launched calling for Netflix to remove Cuties from the platform.

"This movie/show is disgusting as it sexualizes an ELEVEN year old for the viewing pleasure of pedophiles and also negatively influences our children!" the petition's creator wrote. "There is no need for this kind of content in that age group, especially when sex trafficking and pedophilia are so rampant! There is no excuse, this is dangerous content!"

The movie and its Netflix poster have been widely discussed on Twitter with much of the sentiment expressing similar disgust at the provocative nature of the promo.

It is so revealing that the first major @netflix original to centre young Black girls hinges on explicitly sexualising 11 year old children. Whether it’s acting or music, a sexualised image is too often the price of mainstream success for Black women & girls. Disgraceful. pic.twitter.com/18ItsgIZLb

— Sister Outrider (@ClaireShrugged) August 20, 2020

It sickens me that Netflix is using its global platform to circumvent child pornoraphy laws by airing #Cuties, a movie about an 11 year old girl twerking her way to stardom! Pubescent girls dancing sensually can only lead to pedophilia and Netflix needs to be strongly censured!

— Irene Armendariz-Jackson (@ArmendarizDis16) August 20, 2020

Netflix has a movie called “Cuties” about 11 year olds in a twerking dance group. Some of the reviews claim it’s a “commentary” on the sexualization of children but this is the poster. And keep in mind that the lead actress is actually 11 years old. In the film and real life. pic.twitter.com/4p2exeSvXw

— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) August 20, 2020

The plot looks...fine, based on the trailer, but why in the heck would Netflix pose the girls like THIS for the poster? https://t.co/aTEr4vnrk8

— Christine "Go Donate Blood" Rousselle💚 (@crousselle) August 19, 2020

Some on social media have pointed out that the French promotional poster is totally different and instead features the cast skipping through a street swinging shopping bags, wearing non-revealing clothing.

its interesting to compare the french version of the cuties poster to the american version...
like the French version has more "kids having fun!" vibes, while the American version is just fucking.... gross.
I feel like the #Netflix marketing team has a lot to answer for. pic.twitter.com/c8QrX0EY75

— kitti (meow) (@yeetdere) August 20, 2020

Doucouré spoke about the film in an interview with Cineuropa, saying she came up with the concept after she saw "a group of young girls aged around 11 years old going up on stage and dancing in a very sensual way while wearing very revealing clothes."

She added: "I was rather shocked and I wondered if they were aware of the image of sexual availability that they were projecting."