Netflix issued an apology Thursday for “inappropriate” artwork after thousands signed a petition demanding the immediate removal of the controversial film “Cuties.”
“Cuties” was directed by filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré and premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Originally titled “Mignonnes,” the French-language film tells the story of Amy, an 11-year-old girl who, according to Netflix’s synopsis, ”tries to escape family dysfunction by joining a free-spirited dance clique named ‘Cuties,’ as they build their self confidence through dance.” It’s scheduled to run on Netflix Sept. 9.
Released posters of the film shared by writer Claire Heuchan and others on Twitter appeared to sexualize teen girls. The posters showed the film’s cast, all children in midriff-baring uniforms and short shorts in various dance poses. A description Heuchan shared tells how Amy “becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew.”
Twerking is a style of sexually provocative dance involving thrusting hip movements and suggestive stances. Netflix said it was “deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork”. The streaming giant also said the original poster was not an accurate representation of the film.
“We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties,” the statement read. “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.”
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
On Thursday afternoon, the updated description of the title on Netflix read: “Eleven-year-old Amy starts to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew.” The poster has since been changed to an image of Amy looking over her shoulder. The original poster that accompanied the French release of the film featured the preteen actresses fully clothed.