Netflix Chief Ted Sarandos Fires Back At ‘Cuties’ Controversy: “It’s Surprising In 2020 America That We’re Having A Discussion About Censoring Storytelling”

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Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos has voiced shock that a censorship debate has sprung up around the controversial Cuties film after a Texas grand jury indicted the streamer over the feature.

In comments at the virtual Mipcom market on Monday, Sarandos said Cuties was misunderstood in America after the indictment claimed it “appeals to the prurient interest in sex, and has no serious, literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”

Defending the Maïmouna Doucouré-directed feature, which focuses on an 11-year-old Senegalese-French girl, who is torn between her traditional Muslim family and her dance troupe friends, Sarandos said: “It’s a little surprising in 2020 America that we’re having a discussion about censoring storytelling.”

He added: “It’s a film that is very misunderstood with some audiences, uniquely within the United States. 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.”

He also made clear that Netflix did not attempt to make any changes to Cuties’ content before its premiere in September. Sarandos was not pressed, however, on Netflix’s marketing of the show, which the streamer retracted and apologized for after critics claimed that artwork of the dance troupe sexualized children.

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