Netflix saw its U.S. cancellations spike almost eightfold following an online movement to boycott the streaming giant over its controversial film, “Cuties.”
What’s a brief history here?
The French award-winning film has sparked outrage from the living rooms of America to the legislative chambers in Washington, D.C., for sexualizing four 11-year-old girls in a “sensual” dance troupe.
Netflix has insisted that there is no underage nudity in the film and has encouraged people who want to fight against child sexualization to watch the film.
In a statement to TheBlaze, a Netflix spokesperson said, “Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. It’s an award winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up — and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”
The film prompted hashtag #CancelNetflix to go viral, as well as an accompanying petition with a related name. At the time of this writing, at least 653,000 people have signed the petition vowing to cancel their Netflix subscriptions over the film.
What about the cancellations?
According to data analytics firm YipitData, the surge of cancellations came on the heels of the “Cuties” release.
Variety, citing data from the company, reported that the subscriber cancellations began to rise on Sept. 10 — just a day after the film’s Netflix debut.
That day, #CancelNetflix was Twitter’s top trending hashtag.
Two days later, the cancellation rate “jumped to nearly eight times higher than the average daily levels recorded in August 2020,” Variety reported.
New York-based YipitData told the outlet that this was a “multiyear high” for cancellations.
On Monday, filmmaker and director Maïmouna Doucouré echoed Netflix’s sentiments and argued that the film is a “social commentary,” according to Variety.
During a French cinema panel discussion, Doucouré said, “We need to protect our children. What I want to [do] is to open people’s eyes on this issue and try to fix it.”
TheBlaze has reached out to Netflix for comment on the analytics report but did not receive a response in time for publication.
‘This film normalizes the sexualization of little girls’
In a statement following the backlash, Parents Television Council program director Melissa Henson condemned the film.
Henson said, “Although there is a danger that little girls will be attracted to this film, the far greater risk is the way this film normalizes the sexualization of little girls. [Netflix] is desensitizing millions of viewers at home by asking them to be entertained by it.”
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation also said that Netflix should omit the film’s decidedly “sexually exploitative scenes” or yank the film from its library altogether.
“While we commend director Maïmouna Doucouré for exposing the very real threats to young girls having unfettered access to social media and the internet, we cannot condone the hyper-sexualization and exploitation of the young actresses themselves in order to make her point,” Lina Nealon, director of corporate and strategic initiatives, said in a statement. “The audience does not need to see the very long scenes with close-up shots of the girls’ bodies; this does nothing to educate the audience on the harms of sexualization.”
Cuties | Official Trailer | Netflix