'Cuties' on Netflix Could Be Used By Predators to Groom Children, Anti-Porn Group Warns

A socially conservative anti-pornography advocacy group has said that while the controversial Netflix film Cuties is a critique of child sexualization, its portrayal of the issues still spotlights the very thing it is railing against.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation's (NCOSE) view is that essentially the film has done the exact thing it set out to condemn and can now be used by predators to "further groom children."

"The recent media attention around Cuties is important because it both sends a message to the entertainment industry that hypsersexualizing children is socially irresponsible, and it warns potential viewers about the graphic nature of the film," Haley McNamara Vice President of NCOSE told Newsweek.

"While the film at times critiques the sexualization of girls, its gratuitous portrayal actually subjects the young actresses to it.

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"This film in effect normalizes the sexualization of young girls, and there is a serious concern that select scenes the film could be used by predators to further groom children by portraying such activity as normal."

Cuties
A promotional photo for the film Cuties. Following the movie's U.S. debut on Netflix last week, the shares of the company fell 1.3 percent on Monday. Netflix

Formerly known as Morality in Media, the organization say their aim is to expose the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography.

The group has previously campaigned against same-sex marriage, decriminalization of sex work and campaigned to have Cosmopolitan Magazine removed from Walmart's checkout lines.

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Last week, the group supported the #CancelNetflix boycott following the French-Senegalese film's release on to the streaming giant.

Debate around the film has become highly politicized, with its writer and director Maïmouna Doucouré urging the anger is misdirected, and that many are misinterpreting the critical framing of the film.

"Our girls see that the more a woman is overly sexualized on social media, the more she's successful," Doucouré said in an interview, called "Why I Made Cuties," that was released on YouTube on last Wednesday. "The children just imitate what they see trying to achieve the same result without understanding the meaning, and yeah, it's dangerous."

NCOSE's director of public policy, Eleanor Gaetan, argued that while Doucouré's motives may have been noble, the production should not have used such young actors. "#CancelNeflix is valid: We commend the director for highlighting the reality of sexual pressure on girls, but why did Netflix need to exploit the actors to make the point," Gaetan wrote in a statement posted Twitter.

The coming-of-age film, titled Mignonnes in French, drew ire when Netflix's marketing campaign promoted the movie with an "inappropriate" poster the streamer has since apologized for.

Since then, a number of politicians and lawmakers have weighed in on the debate, with Texan senator Ted Cruz calling on the Department of Justice to investigate Cuties for child pornography.

Cruz's view of the film echos that of NCOSE with the politician saying on Fox News on Monday that "every pedophile in America is gonna watch this movie."

Senator Tulsi Gabbard tweeted on Friday that the film "will certainly whet the appetite of pedophiles and help fuel the child sex-trafficking trade."

'Cuties' on Netflix Could Be Used By Predators to Groom Children, Anti-Porn Group Warns | Culture