A hashtag associating Netflix with pedophilia trended on Twitter after the streaming giant revealed its plan to add Cuties, a French movie featuring a twerking preteen dance troupe, to its service in September.
While the movie itself contains sexually inappropriate themes, pre-pubescent girls undertaking in sexually suggestive dance routines as a hobby, and is rated for mature audiences as a result, some say there was a deeper sociocultural meaning to the plot, which was ignored by the trailer and synopsis offered by Netflix.
Netflix initially offered a trailer primarily featuring the preteens twerking, and a brief synopsis explaining that the 11-year-olds were part of a dance troupe that was not necessarily met with acceptance from their more traditional families, who apparently did not want their 11-year-olds to perform sexualized dance moves in revealing clothing.
The mature audience rating and graphic content of the film led users to began using the hashtag #NetflixPedofilia while lambasting the film and streaming company.
“Keep in mind, boys, you need to be over 16 years of age in order to watch sexualized 11-year-olds twerk. #NetflixPedofilia,” one person wrote.
— D (@open_wave) August 20, 2020
“#NetflixPedofilia #netflix changed the photo from #cuties. And REWROTE the description. How the F*** did they think the first one was okay in the first place? I’m the not the SOCIAL JUST cancel type but SOMEONE in Netflix HIGHER UPS approved of the image and description…” commented another.
Prompting the above tweet, at the onset of the backlash, Netflix quietly changed the synopsis of the upcoming movie on their website from “Amy, 11, becomes fascinated with a twerking dance crew. Hoping to join them, she starts to explore her femininity, defying her family’s traditions,” to “Eleven-year-old Amy starts to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew.”
Netflix also appeared to artificially increase their like to dislike ratio on YouTube. At one point, there were more than double the likes to dislikes. Following the scandal, there are roughly 12 dislikes to each like–including the originally inflated number of likes to skew the narrative.
Others took to Twitter to credit 4Chan for greater moral clarity than Netflix. “When 4chan ( one of the most disgusting places on the internet) has higher moral standards than #NetflixPedofilia #Cuties…” an internet sleuth remarked.
— Dont just Tweet about it BE about it!! (@Profound_Lives) August 20, 2020
Some criticized the movie’s negative depiction of the girl’s Islamic faith and the sexualization of a girl of color, while others picked apart the movie’s content from a colorblind perspective. Even some Epstein jokes were thrown into Twitter to drive home a comedic angle out of the scandal.