Cuties: Why Blatant Pedophilia In Hollywood Should Concern You


Poster for the controversial film on Netflix. Photo by Kenise Brown.

Ivana Estime

A parent’s worst nightmare has come to life through a movie called Cuties on Netflix. Cuties, written and directed by Maïmouna Doucouré, is about an 11-year-old girl who joins a twerk dance crew and has come under fire for promotions and scenes that allegedly promotes the sexualization of children.

The problem with the film is the use of minors to play the roles of these characters. It has come to the point where child pornography is being streamed on mainstream television.

The initial backlash had begun when Netflix released trailers and promotional photos for the film. The promotional photos showed the young actresses in tight revealing clothing while positioned in sexually suggestive poses. Many took to Twitter to denounce the film and Netflix for releasing such an inappropriate movie. Shortly after the outrage, Netflix posted an official statement on Twitter, “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 premiered at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description.” Netflix refused to take down the film and doubled down on essentially supporting child pornography.

After the release of the film, our worst fears have been confirmed to be true. Many of those who watched the film described revolting sexual scenes of the actresses. The main character, Amy, is played by Fathia Youssouf. According to her official Instagram page, she is 14-years-old while in the film she plays an 11-year-old. The youngest actress is Medina El Aidi-Azouni who plays Angelica, and is only 12-years-old. This angers me not only because she is young but because these children are being exploited under the guise of educating adults of the dangers of child exploitation.

Cuties has a mature rating and can be watched by adults 18 and up. Keeping that in mind, the actresses themselves can’t watch their own film in reality. Why is it ok for these kids to play these characters then? News flash! It isn’t ok in the slightest. According to the United States Department of Justice, “Federal law defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (persons less than 18 years old).” “Cuties” does display these characteristics through many scenes that slowly pan over the young girls bodies in revealing clothes. The children bite their lips, twerk, and squat in ways that are sexually suggestive. One of the scenes shows Amy getting her pants pulled down in school which is unrelated to the plot. There are unnecessary scenes of the girls undressing and changing their clothes. At one point in the movie, the girls decide to seduce their way past security into a laser tag arena, AND IT WORKS! WHAT!? I can’t stress this enough that these girls are minors and that they haven’t even gotten past the age of high-school students. This movie isn’t informational, it’s disturbing.

Netflix has gotten into trouble with the government as well for the Cuties film. The state of Texas went as far as to indict Netflix for charges of lewd depictions of minors. Many politicians such as Senators Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Kelly Loeffler, and others have called for the removal of the film and supported making a case against Netflix. It shocks me how many articles are actually in favor of this film and trying to spin it as a political battle between left and right. This isn’t about politics, it’s about common human decency. Children should not be exploited like this on television. Netflix as well as those defending the film by saying it is a Sundance film should also be discredited. Sundance co-founder Sterling Van Wagenen had been charged with sexually abusing a nine-year-old girl. This should concern the public more as it is unsettling how powerful companies are trying to market child porn right in front of your face.