The American ultra-conservatives accuse the French-Senegalese director Maïmouna Doucouré of promoting “child pornography” in the United States with his film “Mignonnes”, broadcast on Netflix. Two months before the presidential election, this feature film, which condemns the hypersexualization of young girls, the American right and pro-Trump mobilizes.
The French-Senegalese director Maïmouna Doucouré is, despite her soul, at the heart of a hot controversy in the United States. At the age of 35, the filmmaker who won the Sundance Film Festival for best director for her first feature film, “Mignonnes”, has been the target of violent attacks from the American right wing since her film was released on Netflix. September 9th.
“Mignonnes”, translated into its English version of “Cuties”, tells the story of Amy, an 11-year-old Parisian girl, in her early teens. The young girl dreams of joining a dance group, formed by three other girls from her neighborhood, whose choreographies are sometimes suggestive, like many current pop stars.
The film, which condemns the hypersexualization of the society these pre-teens face, is accused across the Atlantic of promoting “child pornography”.
Tight clothes and funny poses
Shown in French cinemas in mid-August, “Mignonnes” did not create such waves in France. This is the Netflix poster – where Amy and her girlfriends are depicted in nice clothes and scary poses. – which set fire to the powder at the end of August, during the campaign in the United States.
A very different image than the one used at the same time in France, where we see the same young girls walking on the street and throwing confetti.
Accused by Internet users of promoting pedophilia, the platform quickly took a low profile. “We are deeply sorry for the inappropriate visuals we have used for Cute / Cuties,” the Netflix team said on social media. “It was neither good nor representative of this French film awarded at the Sundance Film Festival. We have modified the poster and description[de l’œuvre]”.
Too late. The Twitter machine has already taken off. Three weeks later, more than 200,000 tweets are used with the hashtag #CancelNetflix (remove Netflix), which even made it the world’s first “hashtag” on Twitter on September 10.
Political recovery in the middle of the presidential campaign
The American conservative debate very quickly took hold. Politicians, members of the Republican Party, some of whom are candidates for Congress, humiliate the French film. “Child pornography is illegal in America,” tweets DeAnna Lorraine, a Republican candidate in California for a seat in the House of Representatives.
“The hypersexualization of girls (and boys) is disgusting,” we read in the thread to Omar Navarro, another Republican politician. “It is morally and ethically reprehensible. Pedophiles, rapists and perverts would party on #Cuties.”
The case goes back to the very conservative Ted Cruz, a Texas senator who likes to compare himself to Ronald Reagan. Him, admitting that he has not seen the film, demands that Netflix and Maïmouna Doucouré be prosecuted under the laws that protect minors in the United States.
Following @netflixs disturbing marketing of “Cuties”, I sent a letter in which I shouted @TheJusticeDept to investigate whether Netflix, its executives or filmmakers are violating federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography. pic.twitter.com/P7wLXixU6X
– Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) September 12, 2020
But “Mignonnes” does not include any sex scene and none of the young girls appear naked. “Watch the film and you will understand that we are leading the same struggle,” director Maïmouna Doucouré responded on September 15 during a virtual round table game organized by UniFrance, an organization responsible for marketing and exporting French film around the world.
The director has always presented his film as a “cry of concern” against the hypersexualization of young women encouraged by “likes” collected on social networks and the pressures of the younger generations. “To stimulate debate,” explains Maïmouna Doucouré, “is necessary to try to find solutions.”
Aware of the effects of her film, in which very young actresses imitate sexual dance scenes, the filmmaker took to protecting his actresses with the help of a psychologist “throughout the film to accompany them”. “We also exchanged a lot about the psychological aspect so that they understand the message of the film,” she said in the presentation file “Mignonnes”.
Netflix is registering a deregistration register
Just as appalled that the film crew, ARP, a structure representing French writers, directors and producers, called for support for Maïmouna Doucouré. The call to boycott “Mignonnes” in the United States is “a serious attack on the freedom of creation,” the organization ruled.
Less than two months before the US presidential election, French film is being held hostage by a political war. Netflix has been in the crosshairs of American conservatives since the platform decided to broadcast documentaries produced by the Obama couple.
This controversy represented the perfect opportunity to attack the web giant while strengthening the electorate, which is highly permeable to conspiracy theories, particularly QAnons. This theory, of which nothing has ever been demonstrated, would particularly like personalities, on the left for the most part, to organize a large pedophile network that Donald Trump would have the task of dismantling. The Obama couple would obviously be a part of it and the accusations of promoting child pornography against Netflix thus strengthen the supporters of this movement.
The fact remains that since the end of August, Netflix has taken its ranking. Calls for a boycott of “Mignonnes” offenders have been heard. According to the company YipitData, the subscription increased after the film was published online and on September 12 reached eight times the daily average recorded in August.