On Saturday morning, CPC Leader Erin O'Toole condemned the new Netflix debut "Cuties" which has been widely criticized for its hyper-sexual depiction of young 11-year-old girls.
For background, "Cuties" is marketed as a French coming-of-age film, centering around a group of 11-year-old girls attempted to make it big in the dancing scene. The movie poster and subsequently the film itself came under fire for its graphic depiction of children in sexual positions.
This film became the centre of a massive #CancelNetflix campaign. The New Yorker released a piece titled "'Cuties,' the Extraordinary Netflix Début That Became the Target of a Right-Wing Campaign". From there, political lines were drawn with the left seemingly praising the film, and the right, attacking it as child sexualization.
It didn't take long for multiple politicians to comment on the issue and here in Canada, the recently elected leader of the Conservative Party had some choice words.
While the vast majority of people seem to echo O'Toole's concerned, some critics have raised issue, claiming the film is "nuanced, tender and powerful."
One such critic is Barry Hertz, of The Globe and Mail. Hertz goes as far as to call concerns around child sexualization, a "faux controversy". He writes in his article "What Erin O’Toole gets wrong about the faux-controversy over Netflix’s Cuties."
Either way, O’Toole’s decision to latch onto the issue reveals a disturbing vision of what he thinks the Conservative Party of 2020 should be spending its time on. It is a false controversy, spread by either ignorance or willful manipulation, helped along in certain U.S. corners by the QAnon conspiracy movement, a subculture so mired in stupidity that I won’t waste another sentence on it in this column.
As of this writing, O’Toole’s tweet has more than 700 retweets and 2,000 favourites. I shudder to think how far its faux outrage might spread come Monday morning.
Hertz's piece has already garnered its own controversial reactions, continuing to amplify this already conflicted story.