Cuties director received death threats over Netflix’s sexualized poster

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

No one denies that Netflix's promotional poster for the film CUTIES was incredibly misguided. Blame has been put on Netflix themselves and their marketing division because no one can really understand how such a sexualized image of the film's young cast was approved for public consumption. It's clear most of the blame is on Netflix and that they dropped the ball here but CUTIES director, Maïmouna Doucouré, received some of the blame too which led to her receiving death threats.

During a new interview with "Deadline", Doucouré says that the CUTIES controversy has not left her unscathed and even though she did not see or approve the Netflix poster before it was released, she became the target of vicious online attacks as the controversy began to spread:

"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 apologetic about hypersexualiation of children. I also received numerous death threats."

CUTIES first made its debut during the Sundance Film Festival to positive reviews and even resulted in Doucouré winning the festival's Directing Award. Doucouré did research on the film which follows young Senegalese immigrant Amy (Fathia Youssouf) after she and her family move to Paris. Soon Amy finds herself drawn into a dancing group and her newfound lifestyle puts itself at odds with her family's beliefs and values. Doucouré intended the film to be, at its core, an examination of how the current internet culture often leads to the hypersexualization of young girls.  

Doucouré's nuanced approach to the topic was completely lost in translation by Netflix and its marketing team. The film, set to stream on September 9, became the center of intense controversy when the streamer released a poster of the pre-adolescent cast in skimpy, skin-tight clothes standing in suggestive poses. The poster ignited a fury immediately on social media, with many accusing Netflix of promoting pedophilia. This led to Netflix issuing an apology but by then it was too little, too late. You can check out Netflix's poster below and also the French poster which shows they didn't miss the mark while Netflix really did.

Even though Doucouré has received her fair share of criticism, even though the poster choice wasn't made by her, she has received messages of support as well. Netflix has reached out both publicly and privately to apologize, with CEO Ted Sarandos even reaching out to her personally. The director has also received positive messages from celebrities who have seen the film, particularly Tessa Thompson. It's clear that if you see CUTIES the image that Netflix tried to promote isn't what the film is about and hopefully the more people that see it will ease up on Doucouré who clearly had no control over what Netflix chose to do.

Source: Deadline

About the Author

3191 Articles Published