Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos defended the movie-streaming service’s decision to air the movie “Cuties,” a movie about 11-year-old girls dancing in a sexually suggestive manner.
“It’s a film that is very misunderstood with some audiences, uniquely within the United States,” Sarandos said. “The film speaks for itself. It’s a very personal coming of age film, it’s the director’s story and the film has obviously played very well at Sundance without any of this controversy and played in theaters throughout Europe without any of this controversy.”
Scenes of the movie are “lawfully defined as pedophilia” according to movie review site IMDB. Earlier this month it was revealed that a grand jury in Tyler County, Texas, returned an indictment against Netflix for airing the movie.
Sarandos is confused by the public backlash. “It’s a little surprising in 2020 America that we’re having a discussion about censoring storytelling,” he added.
Earlier this year Netflix censored the classic film Gone With the Wind because of depictions that are deemed racially insensitive. The service didn’t ban the movie from its platform completely but made it virtually “unfindable” on the service through search results.
“Cuties” is not the first film to raise controversy with Netflix audiences. In 2018, The Parents Television Council, a media watchdog group, wrote to Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings and demanded the removal of the film “Desire” for “child-porn content.”
The film’s director, Diego Kaplan, defended some of the more objectionable scenes in the movie by saying it was all just acting. He, in essence, blamed the audience for being offended.
Netflix apparently never responded to the demand to remove “Desire,” and we have not been able to find evidence that it was removed.