Netflix has withdrawn artwork for its forthcoming film Cuties after the poster was accused of ‘sexualising’ 11-year-old girls.
The artwork for the award-winning French film sparked controversy when it was released earlier this week, and a petition for Netflix to remove it from circulation gained 25,000 signatures within 24 hours.
The drama – original title Mignonnes - follows an 11-year-old who rebels against her conservative family to join a dance group. Its director says the film explores the exploitation of young girls, and the poster shows the dance troupe in a series of suggestive poses.
Netflix has since apologised for the artwork saying it is “deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork”.
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.
— Netflix (@netflix) August 20, 2020
“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.”
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Its director Maimouna Doucouré, who won the world cinema dramatic directing award at this year's Sundance Film Festival with the film, says she made the film to explore the objectification of young girls.
"I saw that some very young girls were followed by 400,000 people on social media and I tried to understand why," she said in an interview CineEuropa.
"There were no particular reasons, besides the fact that they had posted sexy or at least revealing pictures: that is what had brought them this 'fame.'
"Today, the sexier and the more objectified a woman is, the more value she has in the eyes of social media. 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."
Cuties is set to launch on Netflix in September, 2020.