Amid the controversy surrounding Netflix's release of Cuties earlier this month, some conservatives are calling on former President Barrack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama to take action. In 2018, the Obamas signed a deal with the streaming giant to produce content through their production company Higher Ground, with some now arguing that they should use their influence and ties with the streamer to push the controversial film from the platform.
In an op-ed for The Federalist published Monday titled "Michelle Obama is Complicit in Netflix Child Porn Film 'Cuties,'" Fox News contributor Rachel Campos-Duffy called on the former first couple to break their silence on the film. Cuties followers an 11-year-old Senegalese girl living in Paris who is split between her family's traditional upbringing and her friends at school who are influenced by internet culture. Many have accused the film of sexualizing pre-teen girls, as the promotional material released in the United States featured the girls scantily dressed in dance outfits, with an official synopsis reading that the film was about a young girl who "becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew" and starts to "explore her femininity, defying her family's traditions."
In her op-ed, co-written with Evita Duffy, Campos-Duffy wrote that "at a time the left has declared that 'silence is violence,' Michelle Obama's silence on Netflix's controversial movie Cuties has not gone unnoticed." Campos-Duffy argued that by not addressing the controversy, "it is also undermining her brand as 'America's mom' and chief defender of female empowerment across the globe."
Others are echoing her words, including talk show host Jesse Peterson, who wrote on Twitter that "in this day & age, there's no way [Netflix] put out movie sexually exploiting a black girl w/o approval from their most influential partners: the Obama's & Susan Rice. Not happening." Radio talk-show host Larry O'Connor, meanwhile, said the Obamas "are enriched by the company that has presented this trash to the world," but they "refuse to say anything … anything at all about this horrible issue." At this time, the Obama family has not spoken out about the film.
Although Netflix has since changed the promotional images for Cuties as well as the description, issuing an apology "for the inappropriate artwork that we used for this film," the backlash towards the film has continued. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, in an open letter to the Justice Department, called for a federal investigation into the film to discern if the streamer or anybody else involved with the movie "violated any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography." Several other politicians have also spoken out, including Sen. Tom Cotton, Rep. Jim Banks, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
Meanwhile, as the "Cancel Netflix" hashtag continues to be used on Twitter, research company YipitData reported a sharp increase in Netflix subscription cancellations in the United States. The research company reported that cancellation rates in the U.S. had reached a multi-year high as of Sept. 12.