Netflix Movie Cuties Director Maïmouna Doucouré Says She Was Sent Death Threats Over ‘Sexualised’ Poster
Maïmouna Doucouré, the director of Cuties, received death threats over Netflix’s ‘sexualised poster’.
The film, originally released in French cinemas with the name Mignonnes, attracted controversy in August after the streaming platform’s poster emerged online. The film – intended as a nuanced commentary on today’s social media pressures on the sexualisation of children – follows Amy, an 11-year-old girl Senegalese-Muslim family who joins a school dance group.
Within 24 hours, a petition claiming the poster ‘sexualises an 11-year-old for the viewing pleasure of paedophiles’ racked up tens of thousands of signatures. While Netflix apologised and changed the artwork, Doucouré was forced to endure a hateful backlash.
Check out the trailer for Cuties below:
In a recent interview with Deadline, the French filmmaker revealed she hadn’t actually seen Netflix’s poster for the film ‘until after I started getting all these reactions on social media, direct messages from people, attacks on me’.
I received numerous attacks on my character from people who had not seen the film, who thought I was actually making a film that was [un]apologetic about hypersexualisation of children. I also received numerous death threats.
Netflix picked up the film after Doucouré won the World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Amid the heated discourse around the poster, co-CEO Ted Sarandos contacted the filmmaker directly to apologise.
She added, ‘We had several discussions back and forth after this happened. Netflix apologised publicly, and also personally to me. Streamers are a great way to get my stories out and share my messages with more people.’
Netflix previously said, ‘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.’
While the poster attracted heavy criticism, other high-profile celebrities stuck up for Doucouré, with Thor: Ragnarok’s Tessa Thompson writing, ‘Disappointed to see how it was positioned in terms of marketing. I understand the response of everybody. But it doesn’t speak to the film I saw.’
As for those who watch it in the aftermath of the complaints, Doucouré said, I actually hope that those who haven’t seen it, will see it, and I can’t wait to see their reaction. Hopefully they will understand that we’re actually on the same side of this battle. If we join forces, we could make a big change in this world that hypersexualises children.’
Cuties arrives on Netflix on September 9.
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