Over 200,000 sign petition demanding Netflix pull 'Cuties' film

Critics say 'Cuties' sexualises young girls.(Photo: Netflix)

Over 200,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org calling on Netflix to pull a controversial French film that critics say sexualises children.

'Cuties' tells the story of an 11-year-old girl who rebels against her conservative family to join a dance crew. 

Netflix was forced to apologise after a sexualised poster was used in the promotion of the film.   While the poster is cropped to show only the bottom half of the girls, the postures are suggestive.

"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 said in a statement on Thursday. 

The petition on Change.org has been signed by 226,000 people in just three days. 

"This movie/show is disgusting as it sexualizes an ELEVEN year old for the viewing pleasure of pedophiles and also negatively influences our children!" it reads. 

"There is no need for this kind of content in that age group, especially when sex trafficking and pedophilia are so rampant! There is no excuse, this is dangerous content!" 

Allison Mitchell, who started the petition, said in an update that the uproar was less about the artwork and more about the content of the film. 

"Its about twerking eleven year olds for adult viewing pleasure.  Take it down we have the screenshots [sic]," she said. 

Director Maimouna Doucour√© has said that her intention behind the film was concern about the sexualisation of young girls. 

"I saw that some very young girls were followed by 400,000 people on social media and I tried to understand why," she told CineEuropa.

"There were no particular reasons, besides the fact that they had posted sexy or at least revealing pictures: that is what had brought them this 'fame.'

"Today, the sexier and the more objectified a woman is, the more value she has in the eyes of social media. And when you're 11, you don't really understand all these mechanisms, but you tend to mimic, to do the same thing as others in order to get a similar result.

"I think it is urgent that we talk about it, that a debate be had on the subject."