Image-based bulletin board 4chan has allegedly banned the movie poster and other promotional photos from an upcoming French Netflix film, Cuties, also called Mignonnes, which it claims promotes the sexualization of young girls.
The Sundance award-winning film, directed by Maïmouna Doucouré, is slated to be released on the streaming giant Sept. 9 and is described as a teen coming-of-age film which documents the story of 11-year-old Amy as she "rebels against her conservative family's values when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew."
When promotional photos from Cuties spread online, they were widely criticized by viewers.
Upon making their way to 4chan's boards, the images were quickly blocked by moderators who shunned the suggestive nature of Netflix's photos. "Do not post any imagery from this show which sexualizes children," they wrote. "Anyone posting images or videos sexualizing children will receive permanent bans. Netflix may allow this crap, 4chan does not."
While many have pointed to alleged hypocrisy in the fact that 4chan notoriously hosts imagery of similar inappropriate themes, it has been widely noted that mods on the site actively crackdown on child pornography, gore, and other violating photos. According to one Twitter user, "4chan has a history of hunting down child predators/most especially people who abuse cats."
According to a Newsweek report, the film's director has spoken out on the themes of her debut which have allegedly been misconstrued. She notes that her inspiration from the film came from seeing girls perform dances in a sexually provocative manner. "They danced in a very sexually suggestive manner. There also happened to be a number of African mothers in the audience. I was transfixed, watching with a mixture of shock and admiration. I asked myself if these young girls understood what they were doing," she said.
She continued, describing the impacts that social media may have on the socialization of young people, saying, "I came to understand that an existence on social networks was extremely important for these youngsters and that often they were trying to imitate the images they saw around them, in adverts or on the social networks."
Netflix has now come forward with a statement via Twitter addressing the movie's marketing materials and promotional rollout. "We're deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties." It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which won an award at Sundance."
Photos and descriptions of the film have been updated on the platform.