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Netflix boss defends 'Cuties' movie as 'misunderstood'

Ben Arnold
·Contributor
·2-min read
Cuties (Credit: Netflix)
Cuties (Credit: Netflix)

Ted Sarandos, the co-CEO of Netflix, has decried the controversy around its original movie Cuties, saying that film is 'misunderstood'.

The French coming-of-age movie, directed by Maïmouna Doucouré, finds newcomer Fathia Youssouf playing Amy, a young immigrant girl from Senegal who joins a dance troupe in her Paris neighbourhood.

Intended to be a critique on the hyper-sexualisation of girls at a young age, the release of the movie ushered in the hashtag #CancelNetflix, as well as condemnation from high profile political figures in the US.

Read more: Netflix stands by Cuties

But speaking at entertainment trade show MIPCOM, Sarandos has strongly defended the film.

“It’s a film that is very misunderstood with some audiences, uniquely within the United States,” he said (via Deadline).

Watch: The Cuties controversy explained

“The film speaks for itself. It’s a very personal coming of age film, it’s the director’s story and the film has obviously played very well at Sundance without any of this controversy and played in theaters throughout Europe without any of this controversy.”

He added: “It’s a little surprising in 2020 America that we’re having a discussion about censoring storytelling.”

Ted Sarandos arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Ted Sarandos arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Netflix has consistently defended the film in the wake of criticism, while its director Doucouré has said she's received death threats.

After it was indicted in the state of Texas for alleged 'lewd content', the studio said in a statement: “Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. This charge is without merit and we stand by the film.”

PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 23: Director Maïmouna Doucouré attends the "Cuties" premiere during the 2020 Sundance Film Festival at Egyptian Theatre on January 23, 2020 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)
Director Maïmouna Doucouré attends the Cuties premiere during the 2020 Sundance Film Festival (Credit: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

The states of Ohio, Florida and Louisiana have also called for the movie to be removed.

Many critics praised the film on its release, though some noted that it 'seems to want to provoke censure'.

Watch: #CancelNetflix trends online