Netflix Co-CEO Defends ‘Cuties:' It 'Appeals to the Prurient Interest in Sex'
Ted Sarandos says Americans don't understand the film
Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos defended the controversial movie “Cuties,” which has been accused of promoting pedophilia, arguing the film is not understood by American audiences.
Sarandos said the movie, which brought Netflix under fire for promoting trafficking in soft-core child porn, was “misunderstood” during the virtual Mipcom market on Monday.
His comments come in response to Texas grand jury indicting Netflix on child pornography charges for allegedly disseminating “lewd visual material” with its film “Cuties."
Sarandos said the film “appeals to the prurient interest in sex, and has no serious, literary, artistic, political, or scientific value,” Deadline reported.
“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.”
Netflix faced massive backlash from parents in August who accused the streaming service of sexualizing children.
CUTIES — a coming-of-age tale from Maïmouna Doucouré (@My_moon_a) and Sundance winner from earlier this year — is coming Netflix on 9 September! pic.twitter.com/LfHkJl7A6b— NetflixFilm (@NetflixFilm) August 18, 2020
Many claim the film is sexualizing young girls because of its adult tone, which involves young 11-year old children twerking.
A petition was launched to remove the film from Netflix.
The company apologized after severe online backlash.
“We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for ‘Cuties.’ It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film, which premiered at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description,” Netflix said in a statement.
The Hollywood News wrote a full synopsis of the film:
Eleven-year-old Amy lives with her mom, Mariam, and younger brother, awaiting her father to rejoin the family from Senegal. Amy is fascinated by disobedient neighbor Angelica's free-spirited dance clique, a group that stands in sharp contrast to stoic Mariam's deeply held traditional values. Undeterred by the girls' initial brutal dismissal and eager to escape her family's simmering dysfunction, Amy, through an ignited awareness of her burgeoning femininity, propels the group to enthusiastically embrace an increasingly sensual dance routine, sparking the girls' hope to twerk their way to stardom at a local dance contest.
The movie's poster ignited further outrage.
The poster depicts the lead character, who is 11 years old, kneeling down with her legs spread.
Her co-star is also seen twerking in the background.
On the topic of pedophilia, this is not the first time Netflix faced controversy
In 2018, the streaming site's shares plummeted amid accusations it was streaming child porn.
Netflix came under fire for streaming the erotic thriller film “Desire,” which many claimed contained child pornography.