cuties still image
© Netflix
Still from 'Cuties' Dir. Maïmouna Doucouré (2020).
The debut of 'Cuties' on Netflix has sparked renewed accusations that the streaming giant is sexualizing kids — but the New Yorker seems unbothered, sparking backlash after calling the anger over the movie a "right-wing campaign."

'Cuties,' which debuted on Netflix on Wednesday, previously inspired controversy over a poster featuring pre-pubescent girls posing provocatively. The synopsis accompanying the photo didn't help either, describing an 11-year-old who begins to "explore her femininity" as she tries to join a "twerking dance crew."

Netflix apologized for the "inappropriate artwork" used to promote the French film, but now footage from the movie itself has critics branding it "soft core child pornography" and deeming those behind it criminals.

While the movie has plenty of critics, it also has its defenders. The New Yorker, for instance, called the movie "extraordinary" and said it had become "the target of a right-wing campaign." New Yorker critic Richard Brody backs up this theory by saying that "some well known figures of the far right" are upset over the film — though if social media reaction is anything to go by, the outrage over the film is hardly restricted to conservatives.


"The media is revolting and complicit in the promotion of child sexualization and pedophilia," Blaze editor Jessica Fletcher wrote in reaction to the New Yorker piece.

"Targeting pedophilic television is a notice you can be proud of, right wingers," pundit David Harsanyi added.


Meanwhile, in the UK Telegraph's review, 'Cuties' is described as a "provocative powder-keg for an age terrified of child sexuality."


One clipped scene from 'Cuties' featuring young girls twerking and dancing provocatively for adults has spread rapidly on social media, attracting widespread criticism and calls for a boycott of Netflix.



While Netflix's promotion of the film has come under fire — and the viral dancing scene has led many to question its execution — its creators and defenders insist there is a deeper meaning behind the movie.

'Cuties' was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. The film follows an 11-year-old girl living with her strict Muslim family in France. News that her father will be taking a second bride pushes her into rebellion and the previously mentioned dance crew. Director Maïmouna Doucouré has said it intends to highlight the objectification of young women in popular culture.

"This film shows with these characters how limiting it is in today's society, to see a woman as an object and that success comes from a woman being objectified," she told Time magazine earlier this month.

Asked about the original outrage surrounding the sexualized imagery on the movie poster, Doucouré said she hopes that when the film comes out, people will watch it and "understand that those who were criticizing me were actually walking the same path as me."