Sep 17, 2020 - Economy

Backlash over "Cuties" leads to spike in Netflix cancellations

Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

New data suggests that Netflix is facing high levels of churn, or consumers canceling their subscriptions, in response to backlash around a French film called "Cuties," which director Maïmouna Doucouré says denounces the hyper-sexualization of young girls.

Why it matters: The backlash, which comes as critics allege the film in fact over-sexualizes young girls, isn't expected to have a lasting impact on the streamer, but it represents how much momentum the campaign against Netflix is picking up over this film especially as high-profile politicians have called for a boycott.

By the numbers: Subscription analytics company Antenna says it saw 5x the number of cancellations of Netflix in the past five days compared to the previous 30 days.

Catch up quick: The film does appear to be sexually suggestive in its marketing materials, but Netflix says it's meant to be social commentary against the sexualization of young children. The company pulled the artwork last month.

The big picture: Streamers have faced cancellations and backlash before for canceling shows or for putting ones up that people don't like.

  • For example, Netflix faced backlash from users last year over a Brazilian satire called "The First Temptation of Christ" that depicted Jesus as gay. The backlash at the time also called for users to cancel their Netflix subscriptions. Over 200,000 signed a petition calling for the removal of the film from Netflix.
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