The Cuties controversy has caused Netflix to lose a decent amount of subscribers. French filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré’s movie has been causing quite a stir in North America. Many have criticized the coming-of-age drama for sexualizing young girls, which was made worse when Netflix released their own original poster that caused almost immediate backlash. The poster in question featured the young cast in sexually suggestive dance poses and it caused a huge outcry on social media. Doucouré received death threats over the controversy. The streaming service quickly apologized and replaced the artwork.
As Cuties premiered on the streaming service, critics started coming out of the woodwork and #CancelNetflix began trending on social media. More than one petition was started, but the largest one has over 655,000 signatures, and it appears to have worked. According to data analytics campaign YipitData, Netflix subscriber cancellation rates were eight times higher than the average daily level on Saturday, September 12th. In addition, stock prices for the streaming platform fell at the same time.
Before the Cuties movie caused a backlash, Netflix stock was trading at $507.02. That number is now currently at $483.86. With that being said, it is a lot higher from where the stock was a year ago ($298) and even six months ago ($319.75). This is also just a dollar higher than it was last month, so it seems that Netflix is still on top overall. When it comes to subscriber cancellation rates, it is unclear what the usual daily subscriber loss is for the streaming service, though eight times higher than the previous week seems pretty significant, but only if the daily “churn” is a relatively low number.
Netflix does not provide its daily rate for subscription loss. However, they now have around 193 million paid subscribers, with 25.9 million of those subscribers signing up within the last six months. Cuties may be causing a backlash, but the recent release of Cobra Kai has certainly helped the streaming service, along with future original content on the way. The large petition to cancel Netflix was started nearly 4 weeks ago and has only seen roughly 55,000 more signatures in a week, which shows a downward trend after the initial backlash started to go viral.
Cuties director Maïmouna Doucouré recently defended the movie during the UniFrance panel, where she noted that it was well received and controversy-free at the Sundance Film Festival. She blamed the initial backlash on the first Netflix poster, though some defended it, stating that it looks like something that would be shown on the Dance Moms TV series, which does not get the same kind of criticism that Cuties has received.
Doucouré says, “I thought the film would be accepted. It played to Sundance and was watched by American people there; I met the public there and they really saw that the film is about a universal issue.” She concluded by stating, “It’s not about French society-the hyper-sexualization of children happens through social media and social media is everywhere. People [at Sundance] agreed with that.” Variety was one of the first outlets to report on the Netflix cancellations.
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