Netflix apologized Thursday after nearly 50,000 people signed a petition asking for the company to remove the French film “Cuties” claiming it “sexualizes” an 11-year-old girl as a poster for the film erupted into controversy on social media.
Netflix recently started promoting “Cuties,” which won this year’s World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award at Sundance, ahead of its September 9 debut on the platform.
The Change.org petition posted Wednesday called out the film’s original description, which screenshots show said the main character becomes “fascinated with a twerking dance crew” and “starts to explore her femininity” in hopes of joining.
The petition claims the movie is “disgusting,” “sexualizes” an 11-year-old for the “viewing pleasure of pedophiles” and is a negative influence for children.
The poster Netflix used to promote the film, which shows the young dancers posing provocatively, was widely criticized on social media Wednesday.
In a tweet Thursday, Netflix said it is “deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork” and that the image and description have been changed; Netflix did not immediately respond to Forbes’ request for comment.
This isn’t the first time Netflix has been the cause of controversy in recent months. In July, people condemned its decision to feature the “erotic drama” 365 Days which Netflix describes as “a woman falls victim to a dominant mafia boss, who imprisons her and gives her one year to fall in love with him.” Some critics accused the movie of glorifying sex trafficking and kidnapping to teens and young adults. The Netflix original series Indian Matchmaking received sharp criticism on social media with some claiming it normalizes gender stereotypes, colorism and classism.
Petition to Remove Cuties From Netflix (Change.org)