The continuing controversial saga of Netflix’s release of the movie Cuties is sadly still going. This time, a Netflix CEO decided to weigh in on the media backlash following the movie. As usual, his answer serves to only make things worse.
On October 12, co-CEO and chief content officer at Netflix Ted Sarandos took part in a Q&A held at Mipcom, an annual global conference for entertainment content. After the recent charge by a Texas grand jury accusing the film of promoting "lewd visual material depicting a child," Sarandos was asked about the overall backlash to Cuties. As Netflix has said before, he stood by the film, claiming that it is simply “misunderstood.” Moreover, he mourns over the discussion about “censoring storytelling” in 2020 America.
“The film speaks for itself. It’s a very personal coming of age film, it’s the director’s story and the film has obviously played very well at Sundance without any of this controversy and played in theaters throughout Europe without any of this controversy. It’s a little surprising in 2020 America that we’re having a discussion about censoring storytelling."
Sarandos clearly didn’t see a problem with “censoring storytelling” when Netflix was forced to change its promotional material for the movie. Or how Facebook even removed a clip from the movie due to “sexual exploitation.” I guess he also doesn’t see a problem with plunging subscriber rates as a result of defending this movie either.
However, Sarandos is right about one thing and that’s how film critics and European crowds accepted this film. For months, liberal critics have been praising Cuties and relegating any criticism as nothing more QAnon conspiracy theories. Sarandos even continues this trend by suggesting any backlash against the film is due to people wanting to censor storytelling rather than people who want to censor pedophilia. Considering Netflix’s past investments, perhaps he doesn’t even know the difference.
Regardless of what Sarandos claims, Cuties has proven itself to be nothing more than child pornography that sexually exploits its underage cast for the sake of “entertainment.” The fact that there are audiences that are willing to accept this is a stain not a blessing on western culture. For the sake of his service and in the name of decency, Ted Sarandos should aim to do better.