As conservatives are calling for Cuties to be cancelled, Netflix says no way. Meanwhile, a Republican senator from Missouri urges for the dispute to be brought before Congress.
Wednesday's release of the French film has been met by partisan blowback over the hypersexualization of the cast's 11-year-old characters. Numerous Netflix users have taken to Twitter to express their outrage and share screenshots confirming their membership cancellation. The New Yorker called concerned parents "angered scandal-mongers on the right." The left-wing cultural magazine propagandised the story as "defiance of a patriarchal order" and a "target of a right-wing campaign.
After days of prolonged silence following the backlash, Netflix defended the movie.
The Daily Caller's Mary Margaret Olohan reported that the streaming platform described Cuties as "social commentary against the sexualization of young children," an "award winning film," and "a powerful story."
"We'd encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie," Netflix told the conservative reporter.
Sen. John Hawley tweeted in reply to the thread: "Great. Maybe @Netflix would like to come talk this over before Congress."
The Post Millennial reached out to the streaming platform for a responding statement.
"We have no plans to remove the film at this time," a Netflix representative stated in a phone call, asserting that the marketing material was not reflective of the movie's message which purportedly is "commentary on the negative effects of the sexualization of young girls in the press and on social media."
"The artwork was not okay or representative of the French film," the spokesperson continued, referring to Netflix's apologetic removal of the original promotional poster that featured the promiscuous dance scene on stage.
The Rotten Tomatoes score of 90% displays an unprecedented disconnect with the audience consensus. 423 users to date rated Cuties at a scorching 5%, snapping back at mainstream film critics who justify the film as a "thoughtful look at the intricacies of girlhood in the modern age" that "confronts its themes with poignancy nuance."
The hashtag #CancelNetflix was the top trending topic on Twitter in the United States on Thursday. Several Change.org petitions have grown exponentially since launching with some started preemptively before the film's premiere. One fundraiser has reached over 600,000 signatories who halted their subscriptions in solidarity to prove to Netflix that "our children are more valuable than our entertainment, and our money is better spent else where!"
Conservative advocacy group Parents Television Council (PTC) said in a statement on Thursday that upon reviewing the film, the organisation “stands by its earlier criticism that the TV-MA-rated film sexualizes children.”
According to PTC, the young female actors were trained in highly sexualized dance routines, instructed to learn expletive lines with “foul, vulgar language," and were forced to wear revealing clothing.
“By removing the offensive poster and replacing it with a more innocuous one, Netflix might actually have made the situation worse by suggesting that ‘Cuties’ is nothing more than a cute, coming-of-age movie,” wrote PTC program director Melissa Henson. “Although the film tackles an important topic—one that under different circumstances we might even applaud—it’s the way the film goes about it that’s problematic. This film could have been a powerful rebuke of popular culture that sexualizes children and robs them of their innocence.”