The Netflix logo is seen on their office in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, US, on July 16, 2018. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)
Video streaming giant Netflix has apologized after its promotional material for a French-language film sparked accusations that it was sexualizing young girls.
The award-winning Cuties (Mignonnes) follows black 11-year-old Amy as she grows up in a working-class area of Paris, defies her family and becomes aware of her burgeoning sexuality.
The poster promoting the film in France shows four brightly dressed girls throwing confetti as they walk up a street.
However, in the United States and internationally Netflix chose an image showing the four young stars posing in tight costumes baring their legs and midriffs.
"We're deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties. It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which won an award at Sundance," Netflix said on Twitter late Thursday.
We're deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties. It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which won an award at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description.— Netflix (@netflix) August 20, 2020
"We've now updated the pictures and description."
Tens of thousands signed a petition demanding the removal of the film from the platform, where it is due to be streamed from September 9, describing the film as "disgusting" and "for the viewing pleasure of pedophiles".
But social media users focused on the Netflix artwork, helping to redirect the storm towards the hugely popular streaming platform.
Directed by French-Senegalese woman Maimouna Doucoure, the film premiered at Sundance Film Festival in the US and at the Berlin festival, winning awards at both.