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Netflix Apologizes for Inappropriate ‘Cuties’ Poster Amid Outrage Over Sexualizing Children

An online petition to get the film removed from Netflix has earned over 35,000 signatures and counting.

Fathia Youssouf, Medina El Aidi-Azouni, Esther Gohourou, Ilanah Cami-Goursolas, Myriam Hamma, Demba Diaw, and Maimouna Gueye appear in Cuties by Maïmouna Doucouré, an official selection of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly

A French coming-of-age drama written and directed by Maïmouna Doucouré, making her feature directorial debut, the plot for “Cuties” revolves around a Senegalese-French girl with a traditional Muslim upbringing who is caught between traditional values and modern-day internet culture. The coming-of-age film was at the center of some controversy when Netflix revealed the its U.S. poster, which featured the film’s very young stars wearing revealing dance outfits, posing in positions that were deemed overtly sexual. The streamer faced heavy criticism for its hyper-sexualisation of girls, and ultimately made appropriate edits. Doucouré has said that the film’s intent is to criticise the hypersexualisation of pre-adolescent girls. Controversy aside, “Cuties” is a sympathetic exploration of the many complexities of girlhood in the modern age, that tackles its themes with nuance.


Netflix has issued a statement apologizing for the marketing around its upcoming original film “Cuties,” directed by French filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré. The movie world premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award and earned Doucouré a spot on IndieWire’s annual list of rising women directors to know. Netflix received backlash over the film after it debuted a poster for the film August 18 that many believed sexualized children.

“We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties,” a Netflix spokesperson said. “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.”

“Cuties” stars newcomer Fathia Youssouf as Amy, an 11-year-old girl who befriends a group of dancers at her school and begins growing into her burgeoning femininity. Amy’s coming of age experience with her new friends upsets her mother as it is in direct confrontation with the family’s Senegalese Muslim traditions.

Netflix’s poster for “Cuties” featured the young girls that appear in the film striking suggestive dance poses such as twerking while dressed in tight and revealing group outfits. Netflix’s marketing led to a Change.org petition urging the streaming giant to remove the title from its upcoming slate. The petition for Netflix to cancel “Cuties” has earned over 35,000 signatures and counting.

“This movie is disgusting as it sexualizes an 11 year old for the viewing pleasure of pedophiles and also negatively influences our children,” the petition reads. “There is no need for this kind of content in that age group, especially when sex trafficking and pedophilia are so rampant! There is no excuse, this is dangerous content.”

The inappropriate marketing for “Cuties” stands in contrast to the film itself, which has been largely praised by film critics for handling Amy’s coming-of-age experience with sensitivity. Doucouré uses her “Cuties” storyline to openly criticize the ways in which society puts pressure on young girls to be overtly sexual.

“Cuties” is set to begin streaming September 9 on Netflix.

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