Turkish Watchdog Orders to Block Netflix Film 'Cuties'

Movie is centered on an 11-year-old Muslim girl who rebels against her family, and was internationally criticized for sexualizing girls

Reuters
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The Netflix logo is pictured on a television in this illustration photograph taken in Encinitas, California, January 18, 2017.
The Netflix logo is pictured on a television in this illustration photograph taken in Encinitas, California, January 18, 2017.Credit: Mike Blake/Reuters
Reuters

Turkey's broadcasting watchdog said on Thursday it will order Netflix to block access local to the soon-to-be-released film Cuties on grounds that it contains images of child exploitation.

The ruling came ahead of the September 9 international release of the French film on the U.S. online streaming service. It followed recent media reports of Turkish government interference in a separate planned Netflix series featuring a gay character.

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The plot of Cuties centers on an 11-year-old Muslim girl who "starts to rebel against her conservative family's traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew," according to Netflix.

"It was decided unanimously that the broadcaster must remove the relevant program from its catalog," the Radio and Television High Council (RTUK) said in a statement after a meeting of the board.

Netflix could not immediately be contacted for comment on the decision.

Turkey's Family Ministry said last month the film "may cause children to be open to negligence and abuse, and negatively impact their psychosocial development," noting it appeared like a children's movie, but had an 18+ rating.

Cuties was previously criticized internationally over its promotional poster for allegedly sexualizing 11-year-old girls. Netflix then apologized for what it called "inappropriate artwork," saying it was not representative of the film.

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