Netflix made a major faux pas recently when they released the poster for French coming-of-age drama Mignonnes, translated for English-speaking audiences as Cuties. Failing spectacularly to read the room, the streaming service almost instantly faced massive online backlash and were forced into issuing a very public and grovelling apology.
Along with the announcement that they had also axed popular shows I Am Not Okay With This and The Society, Netflix have now found themselves as the latest target of cancel culture, which isn’t exactly the sort of publicity they’ve become accustomed to as the world’s most popular streaming service.
While the Cuties poster was a PR and marketing disaster, one that really should have been picked up on long before it was released online, if the campaign to remove the movie from Netflix continues to gather momentum, which seems increasingly likely given that the petition has almost 300,000 signatures, then the real loser could end up being director Maimouna Doucore.
The online discourse might be blasting Netflix for sexualizing children, but Cuties is a critically-acclaimed and award-winning movie from an up-and-coming filmmaker that includes some biographical elements, which is being completely overlooked amidst the furor.
Thor: Ragnarok star Tessa Thompson, a well-known advocate for increasing diversity and representation in the entertainment industry, took to social media to address the backlash recently, admitting that Netflix’s marketing campaign does not reflect the tone or quality of the film she’s seen.
Disappointed to see how it was positioned in terms of marketing. I understand the response of everybody. But it doesn’t speak to the film I saw. https://t.co/L6kmAcJFU1
— Tessa Thompson (@TessaThompson_x) August 20, 2020
At this stage, Cuties could well end up being pulled from Netflix as the company try and distance themselves from such a high-profile error, which means that a great movie from a first-time feature director could lose out on millions of new viewers and end up being remembered for a bad taste poster and nothing else, which would be a real shame.