Netflix's co-CEO is rushing to defend the controversial film Cuties following global outrage and a criminal indictment.
In the face of widespread controversy over the film that eventually lead to a criminal indictment, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos has jumped on the defensive to attack American audiences.
Speaking at the virtual Mipcom event, Sarandos stated that Americans “misunderstood” the film, according to Deadline.
“It’s a little surprising in 2020 America that we’re having a discussion about censoring storytelling,” said Sarandos. “It’s a film that is very misunderstood with some audiences, uniquely within the United States. The film speaks for itself. It’s a very personal coming of age film, it’s the director’s story and the film has obviously played very well at Sundance without any of this controversy and played in theaters throughout Europe without any of this controversy.”
The movie found itself on the receiving end of widespread condemnation in early August following the publication of a promotional poster for “Cuties” that depicted young girls in explicit poses. A wave of social media users took to petitions to demand Netflix recall the film, and politicians from both sides of the political spectrum spoke out against its release.
Netflix apologized following the backlash, stating that they were “deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork,” adding that it was not “representative of this French film which premiered at Sundance.”
The release of the film later that month reignited furor against the company as viewers were treated to sexually suggestive depictions of minors.
Netflix defended the film as “a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. It’s an award winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up – and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”
The film’s French director, Maimouna Doucoure defended the film as a “feminist” production that aims to “sound the alarm” about the sexual exploitation of children, which critics itself say the movie is guilty of doing.
A Texas grand jury indicted Netflix and the film’s creators over the sexual exploitation of minors, which argued that the film “appeals to the prurient interests in sex, and has no serious, literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”