Issues with Misrepresentation in the Media



Issues with Misrepresentation in the Media

We often talk about judging a book by its cover. The recent promotional poster by Netflix for the French-film, ‘Cuties’ stirred public outrage on social media. The “Cancel Netflix” hashtag went viral to rally the backlash against the poster’s hypersexualised image of young girls. A petition to remove the film claiming it “sexualizes an 11-year-old for the viewing pleasure of paedophiles” attracted 25,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.

And that’s the issue with misrepresentation in the media – it leads to people quickly jumping to conclusions. Netflix’s promotional poster and trailer did not do the award-winning film justice. According to the director, Maïmouna Doucouré, ‘Cuties’ is a thoughtful film about the complicated life of Amy, an 11-year-old Senegalese immigrant torn between seeking a sense of belonging with a dance clique and her conservative Muslim upbringing. Inspired by Doucouré’s personal experience growing up, the film aimed to send a different message – one that challenges the audience to explore preadolescent pressures growing up in a hypersexualised society.

Fortunately, Netflix realised its mistake and came out with a public apology for diluting the film’s message and implicating crew and cast in the process. Some netizens who had originally critiqued and posted backlash comments about the film without understanding the underlying context of it have also issued an apology on their online platforms.

While Netflix gets credit for changing the film’s poster and film description, it raises the question of how the initial poster got approved in the first place? And does Netflix approve of any provocative image stunt to sell a movie? in the same way, for marketers, how far is too far in the pursuit of propagating click-worthy content?