Are Netflix subscriptions really down due to backlash over the French film "Cuties?"

According to Variety, Netflix's "churn numbers" (the number of people who drop the service) has increased "significantly" since the release of "Cuties." As a matter of fact, Netflix is seeing a "multi-year high" when it comes to drops after seeing numbers 8x higher back in August.

The controversy over "Cuties" surrounds the sexualized portrayal of young children and multiple petitions have circulated online asking for people to unsubscribe, or #CancelNetflix as the hashtag that many are using suggests.

The backlash was sparked by a poster for the film that featured young girls in their dance outfits.

Netflix quickly apologized for the gaffe.

We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for ‘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.

The plot of the movie at the center of Netflix's current controversy is about an 11-year-old girl named Amy who joins a group of dancers to rebel against her family's oppressive traditions. The movie also features the young girls doing provocative dances and some scenes also feature them being put into sexual situations.

According to Maïmouna Doucouré, the film's director, the movie is a "social commentary on the sexualization of children." She believes it highlights the "hyper-sexualization of children" in our culture and the need to find a solution. Even though she has had zero involvement in the marketing of her own film she was equally as surprised as many others when the poster for the film dropped and has even received death threats.

Things happened fairly quickly because, after the delays, I was completely concentrating on the film’s release in France. I discovered the poster at the same time as the American public. My reaction? It was a strange experience. I hadn’t seen the poster until after I started getting all these reactions on social media, direct messages from people, attacks on me. I didn’t understand what was going on. That was when I went and saw what the poster looked like.

While many have rushed to #CancelNetflix over "Cuties" others on social media have pointed out the politicization of the outrage behind the film.

One big example is that many who are rushing to boycott Netflix over this film didn't have that same energy for popular shows like "Dance Moms" or "Toddlers & Tiaras" which have aired multiple seasons over the last decade with far less artistic merit than the French film.

There is also another part of the social media audience who feels like things like devastating hurricanes, protests, wildfires, civil unrest, and a pandemic are far bigger problems facing our nation right now. It all really adds up to just more division, debate, and "whataboutism" on social media, but what's new?

As far as Netflix goes, only time will tell if these subscription cancellations will make an impact on their streaming service. We'll follow the story and keep you posted.

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