Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos is firing back at critics who have expressed disgust at the controversial film “Cuties” which has sparked an intense backlash since its debut in September.
The streaming giant was recently indicted on criminal charges in Texas alleging the film promotes a child’s “obscene visual material”. The film tells the story of the coming of age of an 11-year-old Senegalese girl as she discovers her maturation, while seeking to be accepted into her religious family and into the group of young dancers she hopes will be. befriend.
Sarandos said at a virtual MIPCOM – the annual world market and conference for entertainment content – on Monday that the film was “misunderstood” in America and shocked by the language in the indictment which asserted that “Cuties” “appealed to an itching interest in sex and has no serious, literary, artistic, political or scientific value. ”
“It’s a little surprising in America 2020 that we’re having a discussion about censorship of storytelling,” Sarandos told the Mipcom Marketplace, according to Deadline.
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“It’s a film that is very poorly understood by some audiences, only in the United States,” he added. “The film speaks for itself. It’s a very personal coming-of-age movie, it’s the director’s story and the film obviously played very well at Sundance without any controversy and played in theaters all over Europe without any controversy.
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A grand jury in Tyler County, Texas, has decided to return an indictment against Netflix on September 23, Fox News confirmed via court documents.
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Netflix has previously championed the title as “a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and in society growing up in general.”
“Cuties” writer and director, Franco-Senegalese filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré, also wrote an editorial for the Washington Post. She writes: “As adults, we have not given children the tools necessary to grow up healthy in our society”.
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Sarandos, who was named co-CEO of the streaming service earlier this year, further argued that Netflix had not tried to modify the final draft in any way until it premiered in September. Sarandos shares the role of CEO with Netflix co-founder and chairman Reed Hastings.
Following Tuesday’s indictment, a Netflix spokesperson told Fox News, “Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. This accusation is baseless and we support the film. ”
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Meanwhile, in a statement to Fox News last month, the Parents’ Television Council (PTC) called on President Trump and the Justice Department to investigate Netflix about “Cuties” and his “role model. of behavior “.
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“We ultimately ask the president to task the DOJ with investigating Netflix not only for this film, but also for its role model,” said Melissa Henson, program director of Parents Television Council, a non-educational organization. a supporter of responsible entertainment. “We hope Netflix will be more responsible and refrain from sexualizing children for entertainment in the future.”