“Cuties”. A Netflix film that, by name, sounds innocent. But in reality is quite the opposite.
The controversial French film has everyone talking, but not in a good way. Appalled viewers have taken to social media in fury, claiming the film’s programming has sexually exploited children.
The coming-of-age story, released internationally on Netflix earlier this month, follows an 11-year-old girl as she navigates her maturing sexuality while finding a place in her religious family — to awkward and sometimes appalling ends, according to the New York Post.
These awkward moments ultimately prompted an outcry among concerned parents, claiming the film is another example of Netflix’s “corporate practice of graphically and grotesquely sexualizing children through its entertainment programming,” according to Parents Television Council President TIm Winter.
And parents are calling on President Trump for help.
In a letter addressed to Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo), last week, the council urged the White House to order a Department of Justice investigation into Netflix.
“Mr. President, more than 30 members of Congress have now spoken out against ‘Cuties,’ and many have called for Congressional hearings or an investigation. But the problem with sexualizing children on Netflix runs deeper than just ‘Cuties,’” wrote Winter.
“There is a strong link between sexualized media and the victimization of exploitation of children,” Winter claimed. According to the New York Post, he cited recent reports, including the news that US Marshals have rescued more than 70 children who were considered “at risk” of abuse and human trafficking, as well as a $35 million DOJ grant to aid the victims, as proof of the entertainment industry’s wrongdoing.
But, “Cuties” wasn’t the only film mentioned in the letter.
The letter called out a number of other popular Netflix listings, including “Big Mouth,” and “Sex Education.” according to the New York Post, and was also sent to Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Mike Lee and other politicians who have spoken out against the film.
.@netflix’s ‘Cuties’ sexualizes 11-year-old girls, and it’s disgusting and wrong. That’s why I’ve asked AG Barr to investigate whether Netflix, its executives, or the filmmakers violated any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography. pic.twitter.com/OuhE6ifmGi
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) September 13, 2020
It is unacceptable that Netflix has not yet taken down a film that blatantly exploits and objectifies young girls.
It should be immediately removed from the streaming service. https://t.co/sFWyMxkg7u
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) September 19, 2020
In a little over a month, a Change.org petition to have the movie removed has reached over 650,000 signatures, as the film gains more traction and causes more outrage among parents.
Netflix has come out in defense of the film, calling it a “social commentary against the sexualization of young children…a powerful story about the pressures young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up.”