Over 40,000 people have signed an online petition to get the film removed from Netflix

Netflix Cuties
Cuties (2020)
| Credit: Netflix

Netflix has issued an apology for the "inappropriate" marketing poster it released for its upcoming original film Cuties, directed by French filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré.

The French-language film was largely well-received at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award. The streaming service recently began advertising the movie ahead its release on Sept. 9.

However, Netflix has received an onslaught of backlash over the chosen artwork, which many critics are saying sexualizes children.

"We're deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties. It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which won an award at Sundance," Netflix shared on Twitter. "We’ve now updated the pictures and description."

Cuties follows Amy (Fathia Youssouf), an 11-year-old girl from Senegal who joins a dance team dubbed "the cuties" at her school and slowly becomes more aware of her blossoming femininity, which causes tension in her traditional family.

The coming of age film has been hailed for its handling of sensitive topics, with movie critics praising Doucouré for using the storyline to openly criticize the societal pressures young girls face to be overtly sexual, according to Deadline.

Netflix’s controversial poster for the film featured the four young girls dressed in tight, revealing group outfits while striking rather suggestive dance poses.

The imagery inspired critics to start an online petition to get the film removed from Netflix. As of Thursday afternoon, over 40,000 people have signed.

Cuties on Netflix
| Credit: Netflix

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"This movie/show is disgusting as it sexualizes an ELEVEN year old for the viewing pleasure of pedophiles and also negatively influences our children!" the petition reads. "There is no need for this kind of content in that age group, especially when sex trafficking and pedophilia are so rampant! There is no excuse, this is dangerous content!"

To make matters worse, the poster in question significantly contrasted with that of the artwork used to promote the film in France.

Netflix Cuties movie
Credit: Bac Films

"its interesting to compare the french version of the cuties poster to the american version... like the French version has more 'kids having fun!' vibes, while the American version is just f------.... gross. I feel like the #Netflix marketing team has a lot to answer for," one person shared on Twitter while comparing the two posters.

Cuties also stars Médina El Aidi, Esther Gohourou, Ilanah, Myriam Hamma, Demba Diaw, Maïmouna Gueye and Therese M’Bissine Diop.

Netflix is expected to debut Cuties on Sept. 9.