Netflix Apologizes Over Criticism of 'Cuties' Poster Sexualizing Children: 'It Was Not OK'

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Cuties
Netflix

Netflix has responded to the backlash over the poster for its upcoming release, Cuties, which some have accused of sexualizing children.

Cuties, a French-language film about an 11-year-old girl named Amy who joins a group of dancers at her school called "the cuties," is set to release on the platform on Sept. 9. While the coming-of-age film won the World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award at Sundance this year, the poster -- which shows young girls in their dance uniforms consisting of blue crop tops and short shorts striking poses while dancing -- has drawn plenty of criticism online. Some accused the poster of sexualizing the young girls.

Netflix apologized in a statement to ET on Thursday, calling the marketing of the film "inappropriate."

"We're sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for this film," the statement reads. "This was not an accurate representation of the film so the image and description has been updated."

Netflix also tweeted, "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."

The original description of the film 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." It has since been changed to, "Eleven-year-old Amy starts to rebel against her conservative family's traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew."

Meanwhile, more than 52,000 people have signed a Change.org petition to remove the film from Netflix. The petition reads, "As we are becoming more aware of the horror of child sex trafficking, and child sexual abuse we need to come together to end ALL forms. One way we can achieve this, is to cancel shows and movies that exploit our children! The movie Cuties shows children dressed provocatively, dancing sexually and is rated only for adult viewers. It was created for the entertainment of adults who are pedophiles. Please sign the petition to protect our children from exploitation in movies."

One Twitter comment about the poster and the film's trailer reads, "The blatant sexualization of young girls is DISGUSTING. No one wants to see their child dressed and posed like this. WHY IS NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT THIS? #cuties @netflix."

"It looks like this is blatantly sexualizing kids. Right? @netflix #cuties. Maybe let kids be kids," another comment reads.

Another Twitter user commented, "Hey, @netflix. I am gonna need you to do me a favor and cancel the airing of "Cuties". I don't want you to be involved with showing 11 year old girls twerking."

Back in January, Cuties director Maïmouna Doucouré talked about the inspiration for her film -- an amateur talent show she chanced upon while visiting her old neighborhood in Paris, France.

"There were these girls on stage dressed in a really sexy fashion in short, transparent clothes," she told ScreenDaily. "They danced in a very sexually suggestive manner. There also happened to be a number of African mothers in the audience. I was transfixed, watching with a mixture of shock and admiration. I asked myself if these young girls understood what they were doing."

"I 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," she continued. "The most important thing for them was to achieve as many 'likes' as possible."

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