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When Netflix made the bizarre decision to release a tasteless poster to promote the upcoming arrival of French coming-of-age drama Cuties, the streaming service had no idea of the storm they were about to create. Issuing a public apology shortly after wasn’t enough, and petitions were launched in an attempt to get the company to remove the movie from the platform.
Of course, they didn’t, and Cuties was released on schedule, only to be review bombed into oblivion by people that hadn’t seen it and had no interest in doing so, either. For a while, it looked like the pic was going to vanish without a trace as subscribers actively avoided it, but the sheer curiosity factor alone led to Maimouna Doucoure’s feature debut cracking the Top 10 most-watched list as folks sought to find out what all the fuss was about.
The filmmaker was nonetheless issued with death threats after people on the internet had seen one out of context image from her award-winning movie, and a member of the United States senate is even calling for a federal investigation into why Netflix would dare acquire a festival circuit favorite from a rising talent and bring it to a whole new audience.
There were widespread calls for everyone to band together and cancel their subscriptions entirely to make a stand against Cuties, and as a result, Netflix cancellations last week were eight times higher than the daily average, according to findings from data analysts YipitData. That being said, shares are still valued at over $483 each, so the executives aren’t exactly going to be hitting the panic button and entering damage control mode, especially when they’ve acquired over 25 million new customers in the last six months alone.