Streaming platform Netflix said it's "deeply sorry" after facing backlash for promoting a film using artwork showing scantily clad middle school-aged girls.
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"We're deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties," a Netflix spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement Thursday. "It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which premiered at Sundance. We've now updated the pictures and description.”
An online petition asking Netflix to remove the French film "Cuties" gathered more than 40,000 signatures after Netflix released a trailer for the film this week. The petition says the film "sexualizes an ELEVEN year old."
A poster for the film showing four young girls in dance poses sparked social media backlash.
"It is so revealing that the first major Netflix original to centre young Black girls hinges on explicitly sexualising 11 year old children," Scottish author Claire Heuchan wrote on Twitter. "Whether it's acting or music, a sexualised image is too often the price of mainstream success for Black women [and] girls. Disgraceful."
The film's synopsis on Netflix 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 original synopsis read: "Amy, 11, becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew. Hoping to join them, she starts to explore her femininity, defying her family's traditions."
"Cuties" is the feature film directorial debut of 35-year-old Maïmouna Doucouré. The film was screened at the 2020 Sundance Festival.