‘This Film Will Be Gleefully Consumed By Paedophiles’: Campaigners Are Rallying Against Netflix’s ‘Cuties’

A petition for the removal of the film has now reached over 130,000 signatures.

Cuties on Netflix

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

A petition to remove an upcoming French drama called Cuties on Netflix has reached over 130,000 signatures today with campaigners saying it ‘sexualises an eleven year old for the viewing pleasure of paedophiles.’ Netflix have since been forced to apologise, however only for ‘inappropriate artwork’ used to publicise the film which many are saying is not good enough.

Cuties, originally called Mignonnes, is a coming-of-age film and the feature film debut of Maïmouna Doucouré. Netflix described the film in a now altered synopsis saying ‘Amy, 11, becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew. Hoping to join them, she starts to explore her femininity, defying her family’s traditions.’

The descriptions has now been changed to: ‘11 year-old Amy starts to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew.’ The original imagery promoting the film also focused on the pre-teens in sexualised dance positions. It has now been changed to a picture of lead actor Fathia Youssouf’’s face and Netflix have issued a formal apology.

However, regardless of the imagery and description, Netflix viewers are unhappy with the film airing at all. Given the subject matter, some are warning that it will embolden paedophilia and encourage other children to mimic the on-screen behaviour. However, according to director Doucouré, that’s exactly what the film was made to stop.

In various interviews, she notes that film was created to explore how social media influences young girls to be overtly sexual online without understanding fully what they’re engaging in. She told Screen Daily that she got the idea after visiting an amateur talent show.

‘There were these girls on stage dressed in a really sexy fashion in short, transparent clothes,’ she said. ‘They danced in a very sexually suggestive manner. I asked myself if these young girls understood what they were doing.’

After researching the topic for a year, Doucouré says she ‘came to understand that an existence on social networks was extremely important for these youngsters and that often they were trying to imitate the images they saw around them, in adverts or on the social networks. The most important thing for them was to achieve as many “likes” as possible.’

Hoping her film encourages ‘debate on the subject’, Doucouré's intentions – as righteous as they may be - have not been welcomed by Netflix viewers. Because, regardless of whether it provokes discussion or not, the scenes of children dancing in sexually provocative ways will still be accessible – with reporters at Screen Daily pointing to the ‘outrageous musical montages involving close-up crotch shots of pouting pre-teens’.


This will be gleefully consumed by paedophiles regardless of the narrative arc.

‘I accept that it is possible that the plot of Cuties isn’t quite what it seems,’ tweeted campaigner Louise Perry. ‘It might be that the conflict between the conservative Senegalese family and the Western twerking dance troupe results ultimately in a triumph for conservatism…But the poster and the name and the fact that they got actual 11 year old girls to gyrate on camera suggests that the show will be gleefully consumed by paedophiles, regardless of the narrative arc.’

Condemning Netflix for platforming such a film, others also questioned whether this movie would be able to achieve its intention in changing children’s behaviour given it is rated TV-MA, meaning it is intended for mature audiences.

‘Who is this movie for?? People are saying it's rated mature, so it's definitely not for kids,’ another social media user tweeted to thousands of likes.

‘The capitalist juggernaut [Netflix] has correctly identified the fact that the sexualisation of young girls is a real money-spinner, as the porn industry has known for a long time,’ Louse Perry added. ‘With no moral barriers in their way, what’s to stop them? Of course religious conservatives and radical feminists were going to hate it, but they’re easily dismissed because anxiety about paedophilia is considered a low status concern by the cultural elites - the stuff of tabloids and suburban “moms”.’

Whether or not the petition for Cuties removal will be heard remains to be seen, but with Netflix yet to remove other controversial films with tons of backlash - such as 365 DNI – hopes are not high.

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