NETFLIX co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos has blasted critics of film Cuties for “censoring storytelling” as row over “sexualising children” rages on.
The streaming platform was indicted on the charge of promoting lewd visuals of a child by sharing the film Cuties, Mignonnes in French, which follows an 11-year-old girl who becomes involved with a dance troupe at her school.
Defending the film at the virtual Mipcom market, Sarandos said: “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 theatres throughout Europe without any of this controversy.
“It’s a little surprising in 2020 America that we’re having a discussion about censoring storytelling.”
Netflix Inc. was indicted by a grand jury in Texas county on the charge of promoting lewd visuals of a child in Cuties, citing Texas Penal Code Section 43.262 on 1st October.
The indictment claimed that the movie “appeals to the prurient interest in sex, and has no serious, literary, artistic, political, or scientific value”.
It also alleged that the promotion of the film was “authorised or recklessly tolerated by” Sarandos and Netflix’s co-CEO and Chairman Reed Hastings.
The original artwork showed the young cast dressed in revealing outfits and posing suggestively, but Sarandos did not address Netflix’s original marketing of the film.
Netflix originally issued a statement apologising for the original artwork for the film, which many deemed inappropriate .
The statement read: “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.”
Despite the backlash, the film won director Maïmouna Doucouré the directing award in the world cinema dramatic competition section of the Sundance Festival, where it received rave reviews.
Defending her film, director Doucouré wrote in an open letter: “We, as adults, have not given children the tools to grow up healthy in our society. I wanted to open people’s eyes to what’s truly happening in schools and on social media, forcing them to confront images of young girls made up, dressed up and dancing suggestively to imitate their favourite pop icon.
“I wanted adults to spend 96 minutes seeing the world through the eyes of an 11-year-old girl, as she lives 24 hours a day. These scenes can be hard to watch but are no less true as a result.”
Cuties is available to watch on Netflix, now.
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