While the US presidential election must be held in two months in a very turbulent context, a new controversy is further fueling the tensions between the Republican and Democratic camps. Curiously, it is this time from France that this umpteenth subject of discord comes, after the release in the United States of the film “Mignonnes” on the Netflix platform, signed by the Franco-Senegalese director Maïmouna Doucouré.
Many American political figures belonging to the Republican Party have recently revolted against the distribution of this film on the grounds that it features young Parisians of a dozen years, notably performing sensual choreographies. Ted Cruz, former candidate for the 2016 Republican primaries and senator from Texas, asked the Department of Justice on September 12 to open an investigation in order to rule on the alleged child pornography of this film, which he nevertheless claims not to have seen. While Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton called the film “disgusting at best, serious crime at worst.”
The most conservative fringe of the Republican Party is thus trying to recover this controversy to destabilize the Democratic camp in the middle of the presidential campaign. The far-right site The Federalist published on Monday a column signed by an editorial writer for the Fox News television channel, which directly targets Michelle Obama by deeming her “an accomplice in Netflix’s child pornography”. The former First Lady is considered an authority figure among Democrats, and enjoys great popularity among a significant portion of Americans. By attacking him, the ultra-conservatives intend to weaken their rival party led by Joe Biden in the presidential race.
A call to boycott Netflix
This column, widely relayed on social networks, accuses Michelle Obama of remaining silent on the release of “Cuties” (its title in English), while the latter has very close ties to Netflix, which recently released a documentary film about her life. By publicizing this controversial subject, the Republicans intend to pose as defenders of order and of traditional “good morals” against a Democratic camp accused of laxity.
These accusations were widely relayed by the ultra-conservative American pro-Trump media, which popularized the controversy. The consequence of this strong media coverage was not long in coming: thousands of American Internet users immediately reacted on social networks by calling for a boycott of the Netflix platform. It also indicated that it had lost eight times more subscribers in the United States since September than over the same period during the previous month.