Controversy can often be a useful tool, one that can make the people or company responsible for a major blunder realize the error of their ways and go about rectifying things, but folks always seem to take it too far these days, especially when social media is involved.
The most recent case in point is French coming-of-age drama Cuties, which generated a storm of bad publicity when the first poster was released, with distributors Netflix almost instantly being forced into issuing a public apology. The one-sheet was admittedly in very bad taste and should never have made it out of the marketing department, but that didn’t stop Twitter from going for the throat.
Petitions were launched to have the movie pulled entirely, as subscribers banded together and demanded that people jump on the bandwagon and hit Netflix right where it hurts, in the pocket. The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Tessa Thompson defended Cuties, saying that the tasteless poster didn’t represent the content of the story itself, but she then found herself being attacked by folks that hadn’t even seen the film just for making an observation that was much more well-informed.
If that wasn’t enough, in a recent interview, director Maimouna Doucoure, who had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of the poster for her critically acclaimed and award-winning pic, admitted that she’d been receiving death threats as a result of the overwhelming backlash.
“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 hyper-sexualization of children. I also received numerous death threats. We had several discussions back and forth after this happened. Netflix apologized publicly, and also personally to me. I really put my heart into this film. It’s actually my personal story as well as the story of many children who have to navigate between a liberal western culture and a conservative culture at home. I actually hope that those who haven’t seen it, will see it, and I can’t wait to see their reaction. Hopefully they will understand that we’re actually on the same side of this battle. If we join forces, we could make a big change in this world that hyper-sexualizes children.”
Even though Doucoure wasn’t involved in the marketing and received an apology from Netflix for their PR mistake, some people still went out of their way to post death threats to an up-and-coming filmmaker about a movie that they haven’t even seen and know nothing about with the exception of one out of context image. If Cuties ends up getting pulled because of all this, then Doucoure is the only one that loses out in the end.