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‘Cuties’ backlash: Netflix cancellations hit record highs

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A campaign against Netflix over “Cuties” and the sexualized portrayal of children in the film caused an increase in subscription cancellations in the United States over the weekend, according to research firm YipitData.

Netflix subscriber churn rates started increasing on September 10, the day after “Cuties” was released on Netflix, when the hashtag “#CancelNetflix” was number one on Twitter, according to data compiled by YipitData.

On Saturday, September 12, Netflix’s cancellation rate in the United States rose to nearly eight times the average daily levels recorded in August 2020 – hitting a multi-year high, the analytics provider of data. Variety. With the #CancelNetflix hashtag continuing to evolve on social media, the high churn rate may continue in the coming days, according to the company.

However, it’s unclear what impact this will have on Netflix’s overall subscriber base; YipitData does not have an estimate of the number of cancellations. Customers regularly drop out of Netflix and other subscription services (a metric called “churn rate”), and YipitData’s numbers may ultimately reflect a short-term breakdown in cancellations in the United States that is relatively minor in one. great scheme of things. At the end of June, the company had 193 million paid streaming customers worldwide. This is after Netflix attracted around 25.9 million new subscribers globally in the first six months of 2020, with the coronavirus pandemic driving record signups.

New York-based YipitData, which sells information to institutional investors, aggregates and analyzes datasets that track the behavior of millions of U.S. consumers, including from panels to email receipts, online transactions, application data and web traffic.

Netflix has championed “Cuties,” written and directed by award-winning French filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré, arguing that it is a “social commentary” that points out the dangers of sexualized imagery of young girls. The streamer urged those who denounced the film to watch it.

“Cuties” follows an 11-year-old Senegalese living in Paris who joins a “free-spirited dance team” (called “the Cuties”) to rebel against what she perceives to be her family’s oppressive traditions. In the film, the conflicting protagonist, Amy, and the Cuties perform dance routines in which they simulate sex, and in the scenes, the camera shots focus on their crotch areas. It also portrays preteen characters in other sexual situations; for example, in one scene, Amy takes a photo of her genitals and then posts the photo to social media (although no explicit image is posted).

Doucouré, speaking on Monday at a panel organized by the French cinema promotion organization UniFrance, said his film shows why it is necessary to create solutions to combat “the hyper-sexualization of children” which occurs via social media around the world.

“We have to protect our children. What I want is to open people’s eyes to this problem and try to solve it, ”she said.

The film has been among the most viewed movies on Netflix since its release, no doubt fueled by the controversy surrounding it. On Tuesday, September 15, “Cuties” was the fourth most popular film in the United States on Netflix, behind children’s animated film “Pets United”, documentary “The Social Dilemma” and horror film “The Babysitter: Killer Queen ”. This Netflix ranking is based on the number of members who have watched at least two minutes of a title.

“Cuties” premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, where she won the World Cinema Drama Achievement Award. Netflix acquired the worldwide rights (excluding France) before its screening at Sundance.

In August 2020, Netflix caused an uproar after the release of a promotional poster for “Cuties,” depicting the young cast members in provocative poses. The company apologized for the “inappropriate illustrations” and said it was not representative of the film. “The controversy started with this work of art,” Doucouré said Monday. “Most important [thing] is to watch the movie and understand that we have the same fight.

The anti-“Cuties” campaign was linked to the QAnon conspiracy and disinformation movement. Several right-wing American politicians have fanned the flames of the backlash, including Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who called the film “child pornography” and calls on the DOJ to investigate Netflix for possible violations of US law. The senator has not seen the film, according to a representative of Cruz, who added: “There should be absolutely no room for the filming and distribution of these scenes – whatever the filmmaker’s purported goal.”



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