Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 1 December 2020

'It was not OK': Netflix apologises for 'inappropriate' poster of 'Cuties' following backlash

The streaming giant has backtracked over its marketing of director's Maimouna Doucoure's coming-of-age film

'Cuties' is centred around a young Senegalese migrant who joins a dance group in Paris. IMDb
'Cuties' is centred around a young Senegalese migrant who joins a dance group in Paris. IMDb

Netflix has apologised for using “inappropriate” artwork and language to promote upcoming French drama Cuties.

The poster used to market the film showed a group of young girls in risque dance poses, wearing minimalist costumes.

The film, known as Mignonnes in France, follows an 11-year-old Senegalese Muslim girl, Amy, who joins a dance group – named the Cuties – in Paris. The film is centred around Amy's struggle to balance her family's conservative outlook with her desire to join her friends.

An accompanying blurb from the streaming giant described Maimouna Doucoure's coming-of-age film as featuring a girl who "becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew”.

"Hoping to join them, she starts to explore her femininity, defying her family’s traditions," the description added.

The artwork used by Netflix sparked controversy due to its depictions of the film's young cast, with a petition launched that demanded the drama's removal from the platform. Others criticised the streaming company's decision to use the artwork, while the French poster for the film depicted the cast laden with shopping bags.

The streaming giant has subsequently altered the promotional poster and description used.

“We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties,“ Netflix tweeted on Thursday.

“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.”

The description now reads: "Eleven-year-old Amy starts to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew.”

The film, which is due to be released on the streaming platform on Wednesday, September 9, is the debut feature from Doucoure.

French-Senegalese film director Maimouna Doucoure was honoured at this year's Sundance Film Festival. AFP
French-Senegalese film director Maimouna Doucoure was honoured at this year's Sundance Film Festival. AFP

The French filmmaker won the World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award at January's Sundance Film Festival for Cuties, which stars 14-year-old Fathia Youssouf in the lead role.

Doucoure has revealed she penned the film to highlight the sexualisation of young girls, particularly on social media.

"Today ... the more objectified a woman is, the more value she has in the eyes of social media," she told CineEuropa this month. "And when you're 11, you don't really understand all these mechanisms, but you tend to mimic, to do the same thing as others in order to get a similar result.

"I think it is urgent that we talk about it, that a debate be had on the subject."

Netflix says there are no plans to remove the film from the platform this time, according to USA Today.

Updated: August 21, 2020 11:16 AM

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