- “Cuties” was a Sundance favorite and a critically-acclaimed film.
- Netflix’s marketing of the film turned it into what critics described as “pedobait.”
- The streaming giant not only created an unnecessary backlash for the film, but may have raised some uncomfortable questions about the seedier aspects of our culture.
“Cuties” was supposed to be a hit.
The film – which tackles the challenges of being a Black immigrant in France and delivers a searing indictment of society’s gross hyper-sexualization of young girls – was set to premiere on Netflix in September.
Everything pointed to a blockbuster launch – until Netflix started advertising it.
‘Cuties’ Was Not Supposed to Be ‘Pedobait’
When Maïmouna Doucouré put “Cuties” together, she was hoping to repeat the success she had with her previous film, “Maman(s),” which won a Cesar Award back in 2017.
The screenplay for “Mignonnes” – its French title – won the prestigious Sundance Global Filmmaking Award in 2017. The film itself would go on to win the World Cinema Dramatic directing award at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
Then Netflix purchased the film’s rights – and utterly fumbled the ball. As The Guardian explains:
[The film], according to its synopsis, [is] about Amy, an 11-year-old Senegalese Muslim, who is torn between the traditional values of her background and a group of rebellious young girls. Accordingly, the artwork selected to accompany previews of the film on Netflix, depicts Amy and other members of the gang in various twerking poses, presumably acting out some kind of routine. The picture is fairly tasteless, featuring the girls in flesh-baring tube tops and sexualised poses, which is what led to the online calls for the film’s cancellation (from people who hadn’t seen it).
And, in the process of bungling its “Cuties” promotion, Netflix drove Doucouré’s name into the dirt. Just look at some of the many disgusting accusations lobbed against her.
Netflix Apologized – But the Damage Has Been Done
Not that I should have to say this, but let me be absolutely clear: Pedophilia in all its forms should be punished to the full extent of the law.
If “Cuties” even remotely promoted pedophilia, I would have been the first one in front of Doucouré’s house with a pitchfork and torch, calling for her head.
I say “if” – because it doesn’t.
And in the midst of this din of outcries, Netflix’s terse apology seems to ignore the fact that a Black woman has been accused of promoting the most disgusting of crimes. Something she didn’t do – and had no intention of doing.
Take a look at the difference between the original film poster and Netflix’s “pedobait” version.
Then look at Netflix’s trailer for the film in the video below:
It’s hard to believe Netflix didn’t know full well what they were doing when they released that controversial poster.
That brings us to the proverbial million-dollar question.
We’ve established that the “Cuties” marketing snafu rests solely on Netflix’s shoulders.
But who’s really to blame for the poster: Netflix, for manufacturing it based on their algorithms – or the sick, perverse elements of society that tilt the algorithms in those directions?
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.