- Netflix wins its Cuties lawsuit, successfully blocking child pornography charges.
- The controversial film Cuties received backlash for perceived lewd content and a poorly-received trailer.
- Despite the criticism, Cuties does not contain sex scenes or graphic nudity, and the court has dismissed the child pornography charges.
Netflix comes out on top in a lawsuit against Cuties, one of its most controversial films. Originally released in 2020, Cuties is a French coming-of-age movie from director Maïmouna Doucouré. Its plot focuses on an eleven-year-old French-Senegalese girl named Amy, who decides to join a risqué dance group in order to rebel against her conservative family.
Following a 2022 lawsuit, Netflix successfully won their appeal to block child pornography charges against Cuties. As per Variety, Netflix won this case 3-0 in a vote held in the Texas 5th Circuit Court of Appeals under the claims that they had “been subjected to a bad-faith prosecution.” Of the ruling, Judge Don R. Willett wrote:
“Netflix has shown at this stage that it has been subjected to a bad-faith prosecution, an injury we have already deemed ‘irreparable.’ The balance of equities also favors Netflix. It has an obvious interest in the continued exercise of its First Amendment rights, and the State has no legitimate interest in a bad-faith prosecution.”
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Netflix’s Cuties Controversy Explained
Cuties caused fairly immediate outrage upon its release in 2020. Viewers were shocked by content that they viewed as lewd, for the young dancers in the film are shown to be twerking and engaging in movement that is typically associated with adults. One of the posters for Cuties was the subject of particular controversy, enraging audiences who had not even watched the film. This poster showed the main characters in their dance uniforms, which, while covering their bodies, left the young actors more scantily clad than some were comfortable with.
This controversy led to many people touting the hashtag #CancelNetflix and IMDb review-bombing Cuties; many of the ratings are from users who likely had not seen the film. Eventually, this strife escalated even more when Texas District Attorney Lucas Babin accused the Netflix film of child pornography, formally filing an indictment against the streamer. In response, Netflix called upon a federal court to help them block the case, claiming that Babin had conjured “trumped up charges” against them and that the case was in “bad faith.”
Despite review bombing among audiences, Cuties received critical acclaim and holds a Certified Fresh 87% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Luckily for Netflix, their efforts to block these charges were upheld. While Cuties will likely remain a controversial film on the platform, it is worth noting that it does not actually include any sex scenes or graphic nudity among its underage actors. While an argument could still be made that Cuties sexualizes children in its efforts to make an anti-conservative, coming-of-age story, the child pornography charges are clearly unfounded based on the content of the movie. Thankfully, the court has agreed with this logic as Netflix’s Cuties case has been dismissed.