Netflix issued an apology for "inappropriately" promoting its forthcoming release Cuties directed by French filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré.
The streaming service began putting the word out about the upcoming original ahead of its September 9 debut by dropping a poster that sparked severe backlash, with many accusing it of sexualising preteen girls.
Social media users started calling the streamer’s promotional materials for the film. The now-removed controversial poster showed the film’s four middle school-aged stars in outfits baring their legs and midriffs striking suggestive poses.
One Twitter user called it “disgusting,” while another said, “Netflix really messed up here,” and a third found it “upsetting and sick.”
An online petition demanding speedy exclusion of the French film from the streaming platform collected more than 40,000 signatures.
Netflix admitted that the online campaign created by its PR team was “inappropriate” and has apologized for the same. The platform responded in a public statement by taking down the disputed Cuties imagery, however there are no plans to scrap the film.
Netflix Twitter, on August 20, wrote, “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 (sic).”
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
Originally titled Mignonnes, the largely well-received French-language film premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, won the World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award.
Cuties follows Amy, an 11-year-old girl who rebels against her mother and her values and joins a free-spirited dance crew dubbed “The Cuties” at school. Soon, she grows more aware of her burgeoning femininity causing tension in her traditional family.
The coming of age film got the jury award for directing and was generally hailed by critics for its handling of sensitive topics.