Viewers hit out at Netflix sign-ups Meghan, Harry and the Obamas as they stay 'silent' on controversial movie Cuties amid outrage that it 'sexualizes young girls'by Lauren Fruen For Dailymail.com
- Thousands of people have already launched a call to boycott Netflix over Cuties
- Harry and Meghan signed a deal 'worth $150 million' with the streaming giant
- The Obamas announced in 2018 they had entered partnership with Netflix
- Neither couple has spoken out on the outrage surrounding the French movie
- 'If they really want to use their influence for good, they’ll tell Netflix to drop “Cuties”', one Twitter user said of the two powerful couples
Viewers have hit out at Netflix employees Meghan Markle, Harry and the Obamas as the two couples stay 'silent' on controversial French film Cuties.
Thousands of people have already launched a call to boycott the streaming giant on Thursday over 'Mignonnes' - known as 'Cuties' in English - angry that its young stars were portrayed in a sexualized way.
The film is directed by French-Senegalese director Maimouna Doucoure, and started streaming September 9. More than 200,000 tweets with the hashtag '#CancelNetflix' became the top trending topic one day later.
Harry and Meghan signed a deal thought to be worth $150 million with the network earlier this year. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who have never produced a TV show, will make documentaries, films, scripted and kids’ programs.
Former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama announced in 2018 they had entered a multi-year producing partnership with the online streaming service.
Neither couple has spoken about the controversial movie as of Sunday. And that has sparked criticism online.
Twitter user @AngelaLMorabito said: 'The Obamas and Prince Harry & Meghan have contracts with Netflix. If they really want to use their influence for good, they’ll tell Netflix to drop “Cuties.”'
@DTCahill added: 'Silence from @Netflix employees Michelle, Barack, Megan [sic] and Harry on Cuties.'
Last month former Suits actress Meghan told voters: 'If we aren't part of the solution, we are part of the problem.
'If you aren't going out there and voting you are complicit. If you are complacent, you are complicit.'
Reacting to her silence on Cuties @WhisperOfSpirit said: 'Meghan & Harry have yet to speak against Netflix’s streaming of Cuties. To quote them: “If you’re complacent, you’re complicit.”
'If dish-soap was enough to irk Meghan, then why hasn’t this?! Come on Meghan & Harry; it’s time to “unlock action and inspire hope” We’re waiting...'
@spotterdotter added: 'One would expect Harry and Meghan having done their research before signing a deal with Netflix, the company who produced and aired the film “Cuties” - which is basically child pornography.
'But it seems to be all about the money with these 2. Where is Markle the feminist? Gone?'
@1ramona7 said: 'Susan Rice, Obama's, Harry & Megan....Getting cosy at Netflix but why no comment at all on #Cuties. Would have thought you'd feel the need to say something guys, you like to speak out so much when it suits.'
A first wave of criticism against the movie, in August, led Netflix to withdraw 'inappropriate' artwork used to promote the film, which was released in theaters that month in France.
Netflix also said it apologized for having used 'inappropriate' images.
But on Thursday, broader opposition to some of the imagery came from across the political spectrum in the United States.
DeAnna Lorraine, a former Republican candidate for Congress from California, tweeted that 'Child pornography is illegal in America.'
'As the mother of an 8-year old girl, I STRONGLY support #CancelNetflix,' added Beatrice Cardenas, another California Republican.
Senator Ted Cruz has penned a letter to the Department of Justice demanding a child porn probe into the film.
The movie, which received a director's award at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, tells the story of Amy, an 11-year-old Parisian, who must juggle the strict rules of her Senegalese family and social media's emphasis on appearance.
She joins a dance group formed by three other girls from her neighborhood, whose choreographies are sometimes suggestive.
'The hypersexualization of girls (and boys) is disgusting,' tweeted Omar Navarro, another Republican politician. 'It is morally and ethically reprehensible. Pedophiles, child rapists and perverts would have a great time with #Cuties.'
Cruz waded in to the debate around the film Saturday tweeting a letter he said he sent to the DOJ Friday calling for an investigation.
In the letter, addressed directly to Barr, Cruz slams the film saying it 'sexualizes' young girls, showcases 'dance scenes that simulate sexual activities', features 'partial child nudity' and at one point exposes 'a minor's bare breast'.
'The film routinely fetishizes and sexualizes these pre-adolescent girls as they perform dances simulating sexual conduct in revealing clothing including at least one scene with partial child nudity. These scenes in and of themselves are harmful,' he wrote.
Cruz warned that the footage would be used by pedophiles 'in abusive ways' and said he feared the production of the film involved even more 'explicit and abusive scenes'.
'Unbelievable that they released 'Cuties'. So child porn is ok now Netflix? Raise your hand if you agree this is disgusting,' wrote Twitter user David Fischer, adding the hashtag #CancelNetflix.
'If you watch 11-year-olds twerk, you're a pervert. If you direct 11 year olds to touch themselves on camera, you're a pedophile. If you support Netflix making and airing #Cuties, you're enabling abuse,' said Republican candidate for Congress James P. Bradley.
Some critics hit out at those who are defending the movie and claimed that it should not be sold as art.
'Netflix is comfortable with this. Plenty of people will defend it. This is where our culture is at,' said Daily Caller writer Mary Margaret Olohan.
'If you call 'Cuties' art or a 'social statement'. I call you a child abuser. We have no time for niceties while children are being sexualized for mass entertainment,' added writer Sonia Poulton.
Others accused both Democrats and Republicans of not speaking out and urged them to call for its removal.
'Our elected officials are mighty silent on the Cuties movie by Netflix. Even those running for office, supported by the top tiers of both establishment parties, are silent. I will never be silent. Why run just to be silent? #CancelNetflix and their board members,' said Republican House candidate Buzz Patterson.
'The fact that mainstream media is making the pedophile-fodder of #Cuties into a right-v-left thing should truly embarrass anyone who is on the political left. Protecting children should be universal, not relegate to one side of the political spectrum,' wrote user JD Rucker.
An online petition has also been started calling on people to cancel their Netflix subscription in light of its decision to host the movie.
'Please make the choice to prove to Netflix our children are more valuable than our entertainment, and our money is better spent else where!' reads the petition that has been signed by almost 620,000 people as of Friday evening.
Among the voices praising the movie were American actress Tessa Thompson ('Creed', 'Avengers: Endgame'), who found it 'beautiful.'
'It gutted me at @sundancefest,' she went on.
'It introduces a fresh voice at the helm. She's a French Senegalese Black woman mining her experiences.
'The film comments on the hyper-sexualization of preadolescent girls. Disappointed to see the current discourse. Disappointed to see how it was positioned in terms of marketing.
'I understand the response of everybody. But it doesn't speak to the film I saw.'
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.'
While the streaming site accepted full responsibility for the blunder the damage was already done, with both Doucouré and her movie facing furious attacks from thousands of outraged viewers.
She revealed she even received death threats after the 'hyper sexualized' poster and trailer went online.
'I received numerous attacks on my character from people who had not seen the film, who thought I was actually making a film that was apologetic about hyper-serialization of children,' she told Deadline. 'I also received numerous death threats.'
'I discovered the poster at the same time as the American public,' she explained.
'My reaction? It was a strange experience. I hadn't seen the poster until after I started getting all these reactions on social media, direct messages from people, attacks on me. I didn't understand what was going on.
'That was when I went and saw what the poster looked like.'