For the second time in less than a week, CNN has ignored the firestorm over the movie Cuties while interviewing Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings.
Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter failed to bring up Cuties during his Sunday chat with Hastings, which aired just three days after CNN Newsroom host Poppy Harlow spoke to Hastings and also neglected to mention the controversy over the kiddie twerking movie.
On Sunday, Stelter aired an interview with Hastings about his new book, No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention. The conversation touched on the coronavirus pandemic and how Netflix is equipped to deal with the recent shutdown in film and TV production. “We’re very fortunate that we produce all over the world,” Hastings said.
The interview also addressed growing streaming competition. “HBO and Disney will be around,” Hastings said. “We’ll see what happens with the others.”
But Stelter didn’t ask a single question about Cuties, which has generated a firestorm of criticism for its sexually charged portrayal of underage girls. The movie has drawn harsh condemnation from members of Congress, who are demanding that Netflix explain why it chose to distribute the French movie.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) called the movie “child porn” and accused Netflix of being “complicit” in encouraging pedophiles and helping to fuel the child sex trafficking trade.
When viewers took to Twitter to demand why he failed to mention the controversy, Stelter claimed that it was because the interview with Hastings was taped “several days ago.” He didn’t specify how many days.
The interview was taped several days ago.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) September 13, 2020
But the Cuties controversy is more than just “several days” old. The firestorm originated last month when Netflix released the trailer and poster for the movie, both of which spotlighted a sequence in the movie in which underage girls perform a sexually charged dance number complete with pelvic gyrations and simulated masturbation.
While Netflix eventually apologized for the marketing campaign, the streamer is standing firmly behind its decision to release the movie.
“Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children,” a Netflix spokesperson said. “It’s an award-winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up — and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”
Netflix has a production deal with Barack and Michelle Obama. Former Obama national security advisor Susan Rice sits on the company’s board of directors. The Obamas and Rice have so far remained silent about the Cuties controversy.