Netflix Defends 'Cuties' as 'Against the Sexualization of Young Children' Amid Strong Backlash

Amid the Me Too movement, Netflix is coming to its defense after its release of the new film Cuties. The French movie received plenty of backlash when viewers started accusing it of sexualizing children stemming from the streaming platform's advertisements. However, despite what the original poster looked like, Netflix says the film is quite the opposite of what everyone thinks, instead claiming the storyline is against the sexualization of young girls.

"Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children," a Netflix spokesperson told PEOPLE. "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 same week the film premiered on Sept. 9 is the same week the hashtag "Cancel Netflix" started trending.

Cuties was directed by Maïmouna Doucouré and was originally titled Mignonnes. While it's been highly criticized, it's also been praised by many for the way the film handled such sensitive topics, even winning an award at the Sundance Film Festival. The movie follows Amy (Fathia Youssouf) who is 11 years old and from Senegal who joins a young dance team called The Cuties. Netflix's original description of the film read, "Amy, 11, becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew. Hoping to join them, she starts to explore her femininity, defying her family's traditions." It was accompanied by a poster of the girls in revealing dance outfits, in which they later changed both the description and the poster following the massive backlash.

This led Netflix to apologize, stating, "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," Netflix tweeted on Aug. 20. "We've now updated the picture and description."

Despite the apology, some Netflix users still seem to be upset as they think the streaming platform should have pulled the movie altogether. As a result, subscribers took to social media recently to share their thoughts and feelings on their dismay for the movie, demanding Netflix either pull it or the internet platform get pulled all together if they do not comply. As another result, the director has even received death threats but claims she had never seen the Netflix artwork but found out via social media when she started receiving massive amounts of threats online.