STATEMENT – Netflix’s ‘Cuties’ is Prime Example of How Racist Stereotypes and Sexual Exploitation are Connected

NCOSE Press Statement logo

Washington, DC (August 21, 2020) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) decried Netflix for its new movie, “Cuties,” which sexualizes pubescent girls and says is a prime example of how racist stereotypes and sexual exploitation are connected. Netflix is listed as one of NCOSE’s 2020 Dirty Dozen List of mainstream contributors to sexual exploitation.

A synopsis of the film states, “Eleven-year-old Amy lives with her mom, Mariam, and younger brother, awaiting her father to rejoin the family from Senegal. Amy is fascinated by disobedient neighbor Angelica’s free-spirited dance clique, a group that stands in sharp contrast to stoic Mariam’s deeply held traditional values. Undeterred by the girls’ initial brutal dismissal and eager to escape her family’s simmering dysfunction, Amy, through an ignited awareness of her burgeoning femininity, propels the group to enthusiastically embrace an increasingly sensual dance routine, sparking the girls’ hope to twerk their way to stardom at a local dance contest.

“Quite sadly, Netflix has given us a clear example of how racist stereotypes and sexual exploitation are connected. ‘Cuties’ clearly sexualizes children, and in particular, girls of color. The pornography industry is built on these stereotypes, and Netflix is taking a page from this playbook by featuring these children in such a manner. Netflix must stop this practice immediately,” said Dawn Hawkins, senior vice president and executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “While Netflix apologized for its sexualized marketing, it has not apologized for hosting the film.”

“The fact that ‘Cuties’ features pubescent girls doing hypersexualized dance is abhorrent. In the midst of the child sexual abuse materials crisis, this sends the message that girls’ bodies are supposed to be sexualized, and this normalization can lead to a host of problems.”

Netflix has become a staple of at-home entertainment with over 150 million users subscribing across the globe. Disturbingly, Netflix often produces media portraying gratuitous nudity, graphic sexual acts, and even graphic depictions of sexual assault. Despite this, Netflix self-rates as suitable for ages 4+ on the Apple App Store. Netflix needs to stop normalizing and mainstreaming sexually graphic and violent entertainment, and until they do so they need to change their app rating to 17+. Learn more and take action:

The Numbers


NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.


NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.



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