The director of the highly controversial French film “Cuties” is firing back at those who have voiced serious concerns over the movie’s sexualization of underage, pre-pubescent girls.
Maïmouna Doucouré said Monday during a panel discussion at the Toronto International Film Festival that the movie, which debuted last week on Netflix, is “bold” and “feminist.”
“It’s because I saw so many things and so many issues around me lived by young girls that I decided to make this film and sound an alarm and say, ‘We need to protect our children,’” she explained, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s bold, it’s feminist, but it’s so important and necessary to create debate and try to find solutions, for me as an artist, for politicians, and parents. It’s a real issue.”
The movie — as well as Netflix — has faced intense blowback for a week.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and the daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are the latest Democrats to join a growing chorus of critics demanding the streaming service pull the film from its platform. The film centers on 11-year-old Amy, a Senegalese girl growing up in France seeking to break away from her traditional Muslim upbringing. In hopes of bucking her family’s conservative beliefs, Amy, accompanied by three other girls, joins a provocative dance troupe in which they perform highly sexualized routines. The girls also watch and discuss pornography in explicit terms.
Gabbard argued late last week the film will do nothing more than “whet the appetite of pedophiles” and “help fuel the child sex trafficking trade.”
The former Democratic presidential contender’s rebuke of “Cuties” came as Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) as well as Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) called on the U.S. Department of Justice to take “swift” legal action against Netflix.
In a statement, Cotton argued there is “no excuse for the sexualization of children,” calling the streaming service’s airing and promotion of the movie “disgusting at best and a serious crime at worst.”
“Like any parent,” he later added, “I find Netflix’s decision to peddle child pornography disgusting. And it’s criminal.”
Despite intense social media uproar over the movie, many in the press have been reluctant to cover the film. CNN, for example, has hosted Netflix CEO Reed Hastings twice in less than a week. Neither anchors Poppy Harlow nor Brian Stelter have asked the executive about “Cuties.”
In addition, Alyssa Rosenberg, a columnist for The Washington Post, has said she is “just disgusted and sad” at the concerns voiced about the film.
Netflix, for its part, has argued the movie, which features the sexualization of children, is a “social commentary against the sexualization of young children.”
“It is an award-winning film and a powerful story abut the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up — and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movies,” added a spokesperson.
Earlier this week, I discussed the movie at length with Faithwire managing editor Dan Andros. You can listen to the latest episode of CBN News’ “The Daily Rundown” podcast here.