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GOP lawmakers ask AG Barr to prosecute Netflix for distributing ‘Cuties’

Dozens of Republican members of Congress have signed on to a letter asking Attorney General William Barr to bring charges against Netflix for distributing the controversial film “Cuties,” saying the movie is “child pornography” under U.S. law, according to an exclusive report from The Daily Caller.

What are the details?

The letter sent by Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and signed by 33 more GOP members reads, in part:

“We’re writing to recommend you bring charges against Netflix, Inc. for the distribution of the film ‘Cuties,’ which contains child pornography. As defined by 18 U.S.C § 2256, child pornography is any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor, and that conduct does not need to specifically depict sexual activity to qualify.

“Cuties clearly meets the United States’ legal definition of child pornography. ‘Cuties’ contains, ‘a scene where an 11-year-old girl dressed in a tank and panties is splashed with water and begins twerking in a frenzied kind of way,’ and numerous other, equally distressing depictions of minors including the display of an 11-year-old child’s bare breast.”

The letter from federal lawmakers comes a week after Texas state Rep. Matt Schaefer called on the state’s attorney general to investigate “Cuties” “for possible violations of child exploitation and child pornography laws.”

Netflix sparked outrage last month after promoting the film’s rollout with a movie poster showing the little girls starring in the film about “sensual dance” appearing scantily-clad in suggestive poses.

The streaming platform apologized for the marketing materials and replaced them, but drew further backlash over several scenes in ‘Cuties” after the film was released. Clips showing the 11-year-old star and her peers dancing provocatively were widely shared on social media.

Numerous Republicans condemned Netflix for distributing “Cuties,” including Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who called on the platform to remove it from streaming. Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) also slammed the film, calling it “child porn” and telling Netflix the company is “now complicit.”

Netflix has defended the film, refuses to remove it and encourages critics to watch it, arguing that “is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children.” The company denies that the movie shows any child nudity.

The streaming giant has seen its U.S. cancellations spike nearly eightfold after an online campaign calling for people to boycott the company over “Cuties.” But Netflix remains defiant, and according to The Daily Caller, “‘Cuties’ was ranked the fourth most watched movie on Netflix in the United States” as of last Tuesday.

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#CancelNetflix movement over ‘Cuties’ leads cancellations to spike almost eightfold, according to analytics firm

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

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Tulsi Gabbard flattens Netflix in scathing rebuke over ‘Cuties’: ‘Netflix, you are now complicit’ in child sex trafficking

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) says Netflix is complicit in child sex trafficking as the distributor of French award-winning film, “Cuties.”

What’s a brief history here?

The streaming giant is under fire after releasing the film, which many say is nothing short of pedophilia.

In a statement to TheBlaze, a Netflix spokesperson
said that people who care about stomping out child sexualization should watch the film.

“Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children,” the spokesperson told TheBlaze on Friday. “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.”

You can read more about the highly controversial film offering
here.

What are the details?

Gabbard — former Democratic presidential candidate and combat veteran —
writes, “[C]hild porn ‘Cuties’ will certainly whet the appetite of pedophiles & help fuel the child sex trafficking trade. 1 in 4 victims of trafficking are children. It happened to my friend’s 13 year old daughter. Netflix, you are now complicit.”

Gabbard closed the tweet with the now-viral hashtag, #CancelNetflix.

Her tweet, less than 12 hours old at the time of this reporting, has received more than 121,000 likes.

Elsewhere in the lengthy thread, Gabbard said that she put her money where her mouth is and cancelled Netflix.

At the time of this reporting, at least 623,000 people have signed a petition encouraging others to cancel Netflix amid the controversy.

A contrary viewpoint

In response to Gabbard’s widely liked tweet, Dr. Eugene Gu, CEO and founder of CoolQuit — who boasts more than 500,000 Twitter followers —
fired back, “The film Cuties is a social commentary AGAINST child sexualization and exploitation. But social media and the mainstream media is all about Puritanical false accusations because this is America, and this is how we roll.”


Cuties | Official Trailer | Netflix

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Texas lawmaker calls for Netflix to be investigated for potential violations of child exploitation, pornography laws

Texas Rep. Matt Schaefer (R) is calling for the state’s attorney general to investigate the Netflix film, “Cuties,” for potential violations of child exploitation and child pornography laws.

The award-winning French film and its Netflix distributor have been under fire for the last several weeks over the film’s decidedly graphic depiction of a troupe of 11-year-old “sensual” dancers.

What are the details?

Schaefer announced the plans on Twitter amid the #CancelNetflix boycott that began trending on social media following the film’s release.

He
wrote, “I have asked Texas Attorney General Paxton’s office to investigate the @netflix film ‘Cuties’ for possible violations of child exploitation and child pornography laws.”

At the time of this writing, Schaefer’s tweet has been liked more than 37,000 times.

‘Social commentary against the sexualization of young children’

French-Senegalese filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré told Refinery29 that the work has been misinterpreted.

“Cuties is a mirror of our society, and I hope that we can all look at each other, and work together to make a better world,” Doucouré insisted. “Imagine if all that energy that was devoted to blindly criticizing my film could be used towards protecting those who need it, and offering new role models.”

A Netflix spokesperson told TheBlaze that the film “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,” a spokesperson for the company told TheBlaze on Friday.

A petition calling for people to cancel their Netflix subscriptions over the controversial film has received more than 614,000 signatures at the time of this reporting.


Cuties | Official Trailer | Netflix

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Netflix encourages viewers to see ‘Cuties’ — featuring disturbing scenes of sexualization of young children — because it’s a ‘social commentary against the sexualization of young children’

Netflix has broken its silence on the calls for a boycott against the streaming giant for its promotion of the highly controversial film “Cuties.”

In a statement to TheBlaze, a spokesperson encouraged people who care about issues such as the sexualization of children to watch the film.

What are the details?

In a statement to TheBlaze, a spokesperson for the streaming giant 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.”

“Cuties” is an award-winning French film that centers around four 11-year-old girls in a “sensual dance” troupe and is rated TV-MA in the U.S. — for mature audiences only.

So far, more than 608,000 people have signed a Change.org petition titled “Cancel Netflix Subscription.”

The film has also prompted hashtag #CancelNetflix to trend on social media.

‘Lawfully defined as pedophilia’

The film, according to its IMDB page at one point, features “female breast nudity of a minor,” “shots of breast, bums, and spread crotches of scantily clad” little girls.

Another apparently deleted parental warning added, “During one of the many highly sexualized & erotic dance scenes that purposefully exploit & objectify numerous scantily clad under age girls, one of the female child dancers lifts up her cropped top to fully display her bare breast. This is lawfully defined as pedophilia and can be extremely distressing to many viewers.”

Yet another warning read, “An 11 year old [sic] girl watches a female rap music video where naked women role play through dance, both heterosexual & lesbian sex acts. An 11 year old [sic] female dance group then mimics these sexual moves on themselves and on each other while the camera zooms in on their sexual body parts as they erotically writher [sic]. This can be highly distressing to many viewers.”

Company is ‘desensitizing millions of viewers’

This is the second time in as many months that the film stirred up a heavy social media response.

In August, Netflix took fire after debuting a concerning trailer and poster for the film, which clearly sexualized the young actresses.

At the time, Netflix issued an apology, saying, “We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties. 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.”

In a Thursday statement, Parents Television Council program director Melissa 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.”


Cuties | Official Trailer | Netflix

www.youtube.com

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Viewers rage against Netflix after ‘Cuties’ premiere features ‘female breast nudity of a minor,’ ‘shots of breast, bums, and spread crotches of scantily clad’ children

Hordes of streaming viewers are calling to “cancel” Netflix after the company recently debuted the film, “Cuties,” insisting that the project — which tells a story of a young “sensual dance” troupe — is nothing more than pedophilia.

Clips of the film have begun circulating on social media, showing varying degrees of apparent, inappropriate sexualization of young girls.

What’s a very brief history here?

In August, the streaming giant came under fire after a trailer and poster for the award-winning French film sexualized the young girls acting in the project.

In a statement, Netflix issued an
apology, saying, “We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties. 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.”

What are the details?

So far, nearly 600,000 people have signed a Change.org petition titled, “Cancel Netflix Subscription.”

The film has also prompted hashtag #CancelNetflix to trend on social media.

Earlier Thursday, IMDB’s film page for “Cuties” described a moment in the film as “lawfully defined as pedophilia.”

One of the parental warnings on the film read, “During one of the many highly sexualized & erotic dance scenes that purposefully exploit & objectify numerous scantily clad under age [sic] girls, one of the female child dancers lifts up her cropped top to fully display her bare breast. This is lawfully defined as pedophilia and can be extremely distressing to many viewers.”

Further, another warning noted, “An 11 year old [sic] girl watches a female rap music video where naked women role play through dance, both heterosexual & lesbian sex acts. An 11 year old [sic] female dance group then mimics these sexual moves on themselves and on each other while the camera zooms in on their sexual body parts as they erotically writher [sic]. This can be highly distressing to many viewers.”

“Female breast nudity of a minor during an erotic dance scene and lengthy & excessive closeup shots of breasts, bums, and spread crotches of scantily clad 11 year old [sic] girls during numerous sexualized dance routines,” another warning added.

Internet archive website Wayback Machine captured the following shot of the IMDB page at 1 p.m. EST on Thursday:


Image source: Wayback Machine IMDB screenshot

Less than an hour later, the page appeared significantly different, and warned only that the movie “consists of 11 year old [sic] girls dancing very suggestively.”

It also adds, “A girl watches a female rap music video where naked women role play through dance.”

At the time of this writing, the IMDB page is significantly different:


Image source: IMDB screenshot

What else?

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes currently ranks the film as 90% fresh.

The site declares that the film takes a “thoughtful look at the intricacies of girlhood in the modern age,” and is a “coming-of-age film that confronts its themes with poignancy and nuance.”

Decider’s John Serba wrote, “Cuties is nuanced and gripping, a powerful and meritorious drama that doesn’t deserve the type of ignorant condemnation it’s endured.”

Monica Castillo at RogerEbert.com added, “With Cuties, Doucouré announces herself as a director with a keen visual style who’s unafraid to explore these cultural and social tensions.”


Cuties | Official Trailer | Netflix

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Netflix issues bizarre apology after sexualizing 11-year-olds in tasteless promotion for film about ‘sensual dance’

Netflix has issued an apology for the “inappropriate artwork” used for one of its latest acquired films, “Cuties.”

The “inappropriate artwork” in question was still footage from the actual French film itself. The company defended the film, lauding it for winning an award at the annual Sundance Film Festival.

What are the details?

The popular digital streaming company came under fire earlier this week after promoting the forthcoming film, which is centered on the burgeoning interest of an 11-year-old black Muslim child who becomes “fascinated” with a “twerking dance crew” that engages in “sensual” dance.

“We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties. 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,” a Thursday
tweet from Netflix read.

Here is the original photo:

The network did, indeed, change the film’s description in its online offering.

Here is what the film’s landing page looked like before the edit, reading, “Amy, 11, becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew. Hoping to join them, she starts to explore her femininity, defying her family’s traditions.”


Image source: Wayback Machine screenshot

And here’s what it looks like at the time of this reporting, reading, “Eleven-year-old Amy starts to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew.”

How has the film synopsis changed?

The full synopsis of the film initially said:

Eleven-year-old Amy lives with her mom, Mariam, and younger brother, awaiting her father to rejoin the family from Senegal. Amy is fascinated by disobedient neighbor Angelica’s free-spirited dance clique, a group that stands in sharp contrast to stoic Mariam’s deeply held traditional values. Undeterred by the girls’ initial brutal dismissal and eager to escape her family’s simmering dysfunction, Amy, through an ignited awareness of her burgeoning femininity, propels the group to enthusiastically embrace an increasingly sensual dance routine, sparking the girls’ hope to twerk their way to stardom at a local dance contest.

The new synopsis simply says:

Amy, 11 years old, tries to escape family dysfunction by joining a free-spirited dance clique named “Cuties,” as they build their self confidence through dance.

There are lots of critics who don’t want to see this film released

A petition to remove the French film from Netflix’s online repository has received more than 50,000 signatures, and continues to climb.

At the time of this writing, Netflix is still planning to premiere the film on Sept. 9.


Cuties | Official Trailer | Netflix

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Netflix accused of sexualizing children with movie about kids who embrace ‘sensual dance’

Netflix is currently promoting an award-winning film, “Cuties,” that’s being marketed as “a coming-of-age tale” from the streaming giant.

But people across the world are expressing outrage with concerns that the movie sexualizes young girls, and a petition has been launched in an effort to have it removed from Netflix.

What are the details?

On Tuesday, Netflix announced that “Cuties” would be coming soon to its platform, sharing the French language film’s trailer on Twitter. The promotional plug reads: “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 | Official Trailer | Netflix

www.youtube.com

The Hollywood News published the full synopsis of the film, which reads:

Eleven-year-old Amy lives with her mom, Mariam, and younger brother, awaiting her father to rejoin the family from Senegal. Amy is fascinated by disobedient neighbor Angelica’s free-spirited dance clique, a group that stands in sharp contrast to stoic Mariam’s deeply held traditional values. Undeterred by the girls’ initial brutal dismissal and eager to escape her family’s simmering dysfunction, Amy, through an ignited awareness of her burgeoning femininity, propels the group to enthusiastically embrace an increasingly sensual dance routine, sparking the girls’ hope to twerk their way to stardom at a local dance contest.

Even before its major-platform release, the international film has sparked international outrage.

One purported Somalian man’s reaction to Netflix’s post typified a common response: “SMH… Typical. European & Western films in general forever demonising and portaying African culture/Islamic faith in a negative light. In addition to promoting immorality and promiscuity to young girls! Stop sexualising young girls and let them be kids.”

The movie poster released to promote the film sparked further outrage. It shows the 11-year-old lead character kneeling down with her legs spread, and a co-star twerking in the background. All four girls in the picture are wearing dance outfits with crop-tops exposing their midriffs along with bottoms and knee pads similar to a volleyball player’s uniform.

A petition was also launched, calling for removing “Cuties” from Netflix.

Its plea reads:

This movie/show is disgusting as it sexualizes an ELEVEN year old for the viewing pleasure of pedophiles and also negatively influences our children! There is no need for this kind of content in that age group, especially when sex trafficking and pedophilia are so rampant!

As of this writing, more than 6,700 people had signed the petition.

TheBlaze reached out to Netflix asking for comment regarding the petition and the release of the film, but did not receive a response after several hours.

“Cuties” filmmaker Mainmouna Doucouré told Cineuropa about what inspired her to make the film. She recalled: “The day I saw, at a neighbourhood party, a group of young girls aged around 11 years old, going up on stage and dancing in a very sensual way while wearing very revealing clothes. I was rather shocked and I wondered if they were aware of the image of sexual availability that they were projecting.”

Doucouré went on to explain that she also wanted to expose the dangers of social media to kids through the film. “During my research, I saw that all these young girls I’d met were very exposed on social media,” she said. “And with new social codes, the ways of presenting yourself change. I saw that some very young girls were followed by 400,000 people on social media and I tried to understand why.”

“Today, the sexier and the more objectified a woman is, the more value she has in the eyes of social media,” the director continued. “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.”

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