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‘A Training Film To Market And Seduce Children’: Child Advocates Condemn Netflix’s ‘Cuties’

(Screenshot/Youtube/Netflix)

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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  • Netflix’s “Cuties” is a “training film to market and seduce children,” the chief executive officer of an organization hunting missing children said Thursday.
  • “Cuties” not only includes many close up shots of little girl’s crotches and buttocks, but also links young girls to pornography, discussions of sexual acts, a child photographing her genitalia, and more.
  • Director Maïmouna Doucouré said she intended the film to “make a big change in this world that hypersexualizes children,” but anti-child sexual exploitation advocates said the film both sexualizes children and presents a guidebook for child exploitation for predators.

Netflix’s “Cuties” is a “training film to market and seduce children,” the chief executive officer of an organization hunting for missing children told the Daily Caller News Foundation Thursday.

Saved in America’s Joseph Travers discussed the newly released Netflix film with the DCNF Thursday, a movie that follows the struggles of 11-year-old girl Amy as she begins dancing suggestively to fit in with a clique of girls at school.

“Cuties” not only includes many close up shots of little girl’s crotches and buttocks, but also links young girls to pornography, discussions of sexual acts, a child photographing her genitalia, and more, a review by the DCNF found. (RELATED: We Watched Netflix’s ‘Cuties’ So You Don’t Have To)

Director Maïmouna Doucouré said she intended the film to “make a big change in this world that hypersexualizes children,” but anti-child sexual exploitation advocates told the DCNF that the film both sexualizes children and presents a guidebook for child exploitation for predators.

“This sexually exploitive dancing appeals to the sexual fantasies of pedophiles, sexual predators, traffickers in addition to whetting the sexual appetite of boys and men alike of young girls,” Enough is Enough Director Donna Rice Hughes told the DCNF.

“It says to Hollywood, this type of programming is ok and will get massive media coverage, so ‘Go for it,'” she added.

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“The pimps and predators now have a training film to market and seduce children,” Saved In America’s Travers told the DCNF. Saved in America is non-profit composed of “volunteer former law enforcement officers and Special Operators, Navy SEALS-turned licensed, insured private investigators” who help parents and law enforcement in finding missing and runaway children.

Travers said parts of the film mirror aspects of Saved In America’s Five Step Grooming process. According to Saved in America, predators first gain their victim’s trust, require intoxication through drugs or alcohol, alienate family and friends, present immoral behavior as a good, and emphasize the importance of making money.

The girls in “Cuties” have troubled family lives, hide their actions from their families, and are joined through a common interest related to flattery and attention: their dancing,” Travers said.  (RELATED: Netflix Apologies For ‘Cuties’ Artwork, Says It Is ‘Inappropriate’ And ‘Not Representative’ Of The Movie)

“This could be a grooming film that Netflix is putting out, whether it’s inadvertent or not, for pimps and predators,” he added.

After initial uproar against “Cuties” when the film’s trailer was released, Netflix apologized for the artwork promoting the movie.

“We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties,” a Netflix spokeswoman told the DCNF August 20. “It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which premiered at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description.”

Parents Television Council Program Director Melissa Henson told the DCNF that by removing the poster and replacing it with a more “innocuous one,” “Netflix might actually have made the situation worse by suggesting that Cuties is nothing more than a cute, coming-of-age movie.”

“Cuties” tackles an important topic, Henson said, but added that the way in which the film “goes about it” that is problematic.

“This film could have been a powerful rebuke of popular culture that sexualizes children and robs them of their innocence,” she said. “But these young actresses were sexualized in the making of this movie.”

Henson pointed out that the girls perform “highly sexualized dance routines,” use ” foul, vulgar language like ‘f*ck,’ ‘b*tch,’ and ‘t*ts,'” and wear “revealing clothing.” She also referenced a scene wherein Amy photographs her genitals, a scene where Amy “attempts to seduce a grown man – a family member, no less — to get out of trouble for stealing his cell phone.”

“This child actress, in a scene with a grown man, removes her jacket and begins to remove her pants before being pushed away,” Henson said. “These girls are shown thrusting their pelvises to simulate sex, and ‘humping’ the floor. And none of this was necessary to critique the sexualization of children.”

There is a danger that young girls may be attracted to “Cuties,” Henson said, but the greater danger is how  the movie normalizes “the sexualization of little girls.”

“Netflix and its board of directors are getting rich off of this kind of content,” she added. “Worse, they are desensitizing millions of viewers at home by asking them to be entertained by it.”

Netflix has not responded to multiple requests for comment from the DCNF.

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