'Cuties' Director Says She Got Death Threats After Controversial Netflix Marketing

Written by on September 10, 2020

The director of the French movie “Cuties,” which was launched internationally by Netflix on Wednesday, stated that she has acquired loss of life threats and a proper apology from Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos after her movie grew to become embroiled in accusations of sexualizing underage women.

The film, directed by French Senegalese filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré, is meant to be a provocative exploration of the destructive impact that sexualized imagery can have on kids. It focuses on an 11-year-old Senegalese immigrant named Amy now dwelling in Paris who tries to flee her non secular upbringing by becoming a member of a risqué dance group. In accordance with Doucouré, it’s the “story of many kids who must navigate between a liberal western tradition and a conservative tradition at house.”

“I wrote this movie after I spent a yr and a half interviewing pre-adolescent women, making an attempt to know their notion of what femininity was, and the way social media was affecting this concept,” Doucouré informed Deadline earlier this month. “The principle message of the movie is that these younger women ought to have the time to be kids, to get pleasure from their childhood, and have the time to decide on who they need to be when they’re adults. You might have a alternative, you possibly can navigate between these cultures and select from the weather of each, to become your individual self, regardless of what social media dictates in our society.”

This message bought misplaced when Netflix promoted “Cuties” in August with a poster that emphasised the women’ revealing dance costumes, which was a far cry from the extra understated poster that accompanied the movie’s unique launch in France.

A backlash ensued, with petitions calling for the movie’s elimination from Netflix and describing it as “baby pornography.” Even 4chan ― a web site infamous for alt-right harassment campaigns ― allegedly banned its customers from posting “Cuties” imagery.

The original French poster of "Cuties" (left) versus the poster first used for the film's Netflix release.

The unique French poster of “Cuties” (left) versus the poster first used for the movie’s Netflix launch.

Netflix apologized and altered the poster, however Doucouré informed Deadline that she had already been focused with private vitriol. 

“I acquired quite a few assaults on my character from individuals who had not seen the movie, who thought I used to be truly making a movie that was apologetic about hypersexualization of youngsters,” Doucouré stated. “I additionally acquired quite a few loss of life threats.”

The primary Netflix poster was “not consultant of the movie,” she stated, and Sarandos, the streaming service’s co-CEO, referred to as her to make amends. 

“We had a number of discussions forwards and backwards after this occurred. Netflix apologized publicly, and likewise personally to me,” Doucouré added.

Regardless of the apology and the modified promotional supplies, tweets lambasting the film and calls to #CancelNetflix nonetheless trended on social media following its launch of “Cuties” on Wednesday. Numerous conservative voices amplified their critiques with a political angle, accusing the “left” of selling “Cuties” and supporting pedophilia.

“Cuties” has been reviewed properly by skilled movie critics regardless of this criticism. It gained an award for steering on the Sundance Movie Competition in January, and a current evaluate by The New Yorker argued that it had grow to be the unfair goal of a “right-wing marketing campaign.” 

“I doubt that the scandal-mongers (who embrace some well-known figures of the far proper) have truly seen ‘Cuties,’ however some components of the movie that weren’t offered within the promoting would absolutely show irritating to them: it’s the story of a woman’s outrage at, and defiance of, a patriarchal order,” wrote reviewer Richard Brody. “The topic of ‘Cuties’ isn’t twerking; it’s kids, particularly poor and nonwhite kids, who’re disadvantaged of the assets — the training, the emotional assist, the open household dialogue — to place sexualized media and popular culture into perspective.” 

Rolling Stone reviewer David Worry shared this attitude, blasting Netflix’s advertising of “Cuties” however praising components of the movie itself and calling it a “delicate coming-of-age film [that] grew to become a culture-war goal.” 

“Anybody who caught ‘Cuties’ at a competition, or who bothers to stream it on Netflix beginning right now, can attest to the supreme irony right here,” Worry wrote. “It’s a portrait of ladies that decries how sexuality is force-fed to them and/or considered as the one method to foster vanity at far too younger an age. It’s the polar reverse of what it’s accused of being.” 


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