Netflix’s Cuties poster controversy explained

Netflix logo (Photo Illustration by Chesnot/Getty Images)
Netflix logo (Photo Illustration by Chesnot/Getty Images) /

Netflix has come under fire for the marketing strategy of its forthcoming release Cuties. The French film tells the story of an 11-year old girl named Amy. When Amy joins a dance group at school called “The Cuties,” she puts herself at odds with her mother’s more conservative values.

Cuties is headed to Netflix on September 9, 2020, and in typical fashion, the streaming service decided to promote the film’s arrival to their platform. Promoting the project makes total sense, but the way Netflix chose to go about it definitely does not.

As reported by Deadline, the promotional artwork released by Netflix was met with swift criticism. The image shows young girls in blue dance outfits posing dramatically across a stage, and many people voiced their opinion that the poster sexualizes children.

The Netflix theatrical poster differs considerably from the French one, which casts a decidedly different tone. The French poster shows four young girls marching happily down the street carrying shopping bags. With confetti swirling in the air around them, the girls seem high-spirited and triumphant.

You can compare the images here.

Netflix apologized for the offensive poster in a statement to Deadline, saying:

"We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Cuties. It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which premiered at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description."

It’s nice that Netflix apologized, but the damage is already done. Considering how much content the streaming service produces, and how much money they rake in, it seems like they would have been able to spare some change for to get more eyes on the poster before approving it.

It makes me wonder how many different levels of production promotional material goes through before it’s released to the public, and how deeply problematic it is that not a single person at the company thought anything was wrong with that poster.

Hopefully, Netflix learned their lesson and will pay more attention to the messages they send in the future.

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