Netflix is in hot water following the release of its controversial new film Cuties.
On Thursday, #CancelNetflix began trending on Twitter after many users claimed that the Maïmouna Doucouré-directed film promotes pedophilia.
“I have cancelled my Netflix subscription. When asked for a reason I wrote: ‘You support paedophilia’. I have not heard back. #CancelNetflix,” wrote one user.
Said another, “Netflix condones Pedophilia. Pass it on. #CancelNetflix,”
In addition, a Change.org petition was launched even prior to the French-language film’s release, calling on the streaming platform to cancel its release. As of Thursday afternoon, the petition has 129,140 signatures.
Netflix didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Cuties follows Amy (Fathia Youssouf), an 11-year-old girl from Senegal who joins a dance team dubbed “the cuties” at her school and slowly becomes more aware of her blossoming femininity, which causes tension in her traditional family.
While the coming-of-age film has been criticized, it’s been praised by many — including film critics – for its handling of sensitive topics. It was also well received at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award
Film critic Monica Castillo gave the film four stars in her Rogertebert.com review, and applauded Doucouré for using the storyline to openly criticize the societal pressures young girls face to be overtly sexual.
“The movie is so much more nuanced and bold than the first wave of outrage charged,” Castillo wrote. “With Cuties, Doucouré announces herself as a director with a keen visual style who’s unafraid to explore these cultural and social tensions.”
Actress Tessa Thompson has also spoken out in defense of the film, calling it “beautiful.” “The film comments on the hyper-sexualization of preadolescent girls,” she said. “Disappointed to see the current discourse.”