Netflix has apologized for images it used to promote an upcoming film on their streaming service after getting backlash online, and a petition to remove the film got almost 190,000 signatures.
The movie, called “Cuties” in the U.S., follows an 11-year-old girl who joins a dance group. The film, directed by Maïmouna Doucouré and originally called “Mignonnes”, won a directing award at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
The petition on Change.org points out the marketing imagery and language Netflix used to promote the film, and calls it “disgusting” because it “sexualizes an eleven year old for the viewing pleasure of pedophiles.”
The main image Netflix originally used shows the four lead actresses, all girls, wearing black and turquoise dance outfits revealing their stomachs and most of their legs, while posed mid-dance.
The film is recommended for 16+, according to Netflix.
“We're deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties. It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which won an award at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description,” read Netflix’s statement posted on Twitter Thursday.
The image and description for the film have been updated in Netflix.
Doucouré said the film is based in part on her own childhood experiences, and those of girls growing up today.
“This is most of all an uncompromising portrait of an 11-year-old girl plunged in a world that imposes a series of dictates on her.” She said in an interview with Cineuropa. She continued that it is important to not judge these girls, but to understand them, listen to them and give them a voice.
The petition remains active, an update states they want the film removed from Netflix.