Tulsi Gabbard has joined the growing number of people calling out streaming platform Netflix for its promotion of the controversial movie Cuties. Critics of the film have claimed that it overtly sexualizes young children.
The former Democratic Party presidential candidate took to Twitter to weigh in on the debate, calling the film “child porn” and claiming that it was promoting sex trafficking. She included the hashtag #CancelNetflix, which has become a rallying cry for those opposed to the company’s promotion of the film.
Gabbard shared an image of the poster for Cuties, which showed young girls wearing skimpy dance outfits.
.@netflix child porn "Cuties" will certainly whet the appetite of pedophiles & help fuel the child sex trafficking trade. 1 in 4 victims of trafficking are children. It happened to my friend's 13 year old daughter. Netflix, you are now complicit. #CancelNetflix pic.twitter.com/GI8KFH7LFq
— Tulsi Gabbard ???? (@TulsiGabbard) September 12, 2020
The French film is about an 11-year-old girl who joins a dance crew that uses routines critics of Cuties have characterized as sexually suggestive and exploitative.
Gabbard is one of the most high-profile figures to join in criticizing Netflix for its promotion of Cuties. Many have called on subscribers to cancel the service, and the Internet Movie Database issued a parental guidance warning, which stated that the film contained scenes “lawfully defined as pedophilia.” The site also included some graphic descriptions of scenes that showed young girls in sexually suggestive poses and dancing suggestively.
“During one of the many highly sexualized and erotic dance scenes that purposefully exploit and objectify numerous scantily clad under age girls, one of the female child dancers lifts up her cropped top to fully display her bare breast,” the notice originally read. “This is lawfully defined as pedophilia and can be extremely distressing to many viewers.”
As CBS News reported, Netflix already issued an apology for images used to promote Cuties, saying that the suggestive images were not representative of the meaning behind the movie, which won an award at the Sundance Film Festival.
Gabbard’s tweet calling out Netflix garnered some viral interest, with her name reaching the top of Twitter’s trends and her tweet racking up more than 45,000 retweets and 135,000 likes in a matter of a few hours. Many commenters commended her for bringing attention to the issue and pressuring Netflix to drop the title, though others claimed that her criticism was off-base.
Supporters have pointed out that Cuties was meant to be a commentary against the sexualization and exploitation of children, though that was not made clear through promotional materials released by Netflix.
Incidentally, I'm a critic who highly recommends Netflix's #Cuties — it's a wonderful, poignant, challenging and nuanced coming-of-age film, smartly crafted by a wonderful director. The controversy surrounding it seems to be propaganda fueled by QAnon types and anti-Semites.
— Aja Romano (@ajaromano) September 10, 2020
Others have suggested that the pushback against Cuties is rooted in the far-right QAnon conspiracy, which has claimed that some political opponents of Donald Trump are involved in child abuse rings.