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How Cuties Got Caught in a Gamergate-Style Internet Clash

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Even before Netflix released the French film Cuties in the United States, review sites were brimming with emotional audience judgements. The movie, which centers on a panicked Parisian preteen named Amy (Fathia Youssouf) as she joins a rebellious clique and navigates her family life, currently holds an 11 percent audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. “Absolutely shocking that this was allowed to be broadcast,” one reads. Another: “Extremely inappropriate.” One more: “The world is worse for having this film in it.”

The debut film of director Maïmouna Doucouré, Cuties is a sensitive, small-scale character study of a French-Senagalese girl—not, historically, the sort of movie that attracts that much mainstream attention in America at all, let alone intense hatred. Yet members of Congress are calling it child porn, Doucouré is receiving death threats, and conspiracy theorists obsessed with secret elite cabals of pedophiles are targeting Netflix under the pretense that the streaming service is part of a global scheme to normalize the sexualization of children. Caught in the internet’s crosshairs, Cuties has become a lightning rod, but not an anomaly—it’s a new front in a culture clash that’s been going on for years.

Cuties is part of a growing subgenre of intimate indie movies focused on outsider girls. Catherine Hardwicke’s Thirteen is an obvious predecessor. In both Cuties and Thirteen, confused young female leads rebel in upsetting, age-inappropriate ways to win peer approval and avoid stressful family lives. Both treat the bonds between female friends and mothers and daughters as their primary concerns. No romances, no epic endings. Not exactly traditional box-office catnip geared to grab the masses. Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank, which focuses on an East London girl named Mia, also has thematic overlap. Like Amy, Mia takes solace in hip-hop, lives in public housing, and has a single mother. Like Amy, she leaves a dance competition when she realizes it’s way too much for her. In its exploration of how social media can distort a young person’s sense of identity, Cuties recalls Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade. In French film, it echoes Céline Sciamma’s Girlhood, which also follows a Black French girl as she joins a mischievous clique. Thirteen did provoke some hand-wringing upon release, but for the most part, these films have been well-regarded, auteur-driven dives into the experiences of young women. When it premiered at Sundance this year, Cuties looked poised to join this canon.

Maybe it will. But first it has to navigate a backlash of unprecedented proportions, as its reputation gets dragged through some particularly fetid mud.

To be unambiguous: Cuties is not a pornographic film. Doucouré drew from her own experiences—like Amy, she’s a French-Senegalese woman who grew up in Paris—and from the stories of young girls she interviewed to create an intimate, funny, painful coming-of-age story. There is no nudity. There are no sex scenes. It does feature disturbing sequences where its young actors dance provocatively in inappropriate clothing, and it shows Amy taking a picture of her crotch and posting it to social media. These scenes are intended to horrify the viewer, and the plot hinges on Amy understanding that she’s tried to grow up too fast. And, look, France does have a history of producing some frankly gross art about young girls—but Cuties has a fundamentally moderate message. Amy rejects aspects of her traditional Islamic upbringing, but she also ultimately turns away from her misapprehension that growing up means turning yourself into a sex object. In interviews, Doucouré has been very clear on this point. “Our girls see that the more a woman is overly sexualized on social media, the more she’s successful. Our children imitate what they see, trying to achieve the same result without understanding the meaning,” she said in a recent interview. “It’s dangerous.”

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Is Jimmy Kimmel Live new tonight, September 16?

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The Emmys will air Sunday, Sept. 20. That means fans won’t have to wait long to see Kimmel back on television.

Is Jimmy Kimmel Live! new tonight, September 16?

And that brings us to the bad news, which you probably already guessed by now. There will not be a new episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! tonight on ABC.

Kimmel and his writers are preparing fo the Emmys, meaning that the late-night show has been put on the back burner for now.

However, fans will have the chance to catch up on Jimmy Kimmel Live! tonight. ABC will reair the Sept. 8 show guest hosted by Josh Gad and featuring Daisy Ridley as the interview guest.

Are you excited that Jimmy Kimmel’s return is right around the corner? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Is The Late Show with Stephen Colbert new tonight, September 17?

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new Netflix series Ratched based on the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

How to watch The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert is only going to get better from now through the end of the year. Every episode is a must-watch at this point. Here’s all the info you need for tonight:

Date: Thursday, Sept. 17
Start Time: 11:35 p.m.
TV Channel: CBS
Live Stream: Watch live on Fubo TV. Sign up now for a free seven-day trial. You can also watch on the CBS website or app

Will you be watching The Late Show tonight? Let us know in the comment section below. Be sure to check back with Last Night On for all the highlights.

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Ellen DeGeneres Apologizes For Toxic Workplace Scandal: “I Take Responsibility for What Happens At My Show”

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Ellen DeGeneres is starting fresh with Season 18 of her show, promising viewers “a new chapter.” In her first monologue since taking a hiatus over the summer, the The Ellen DeGeneres Show host addressed the allegations and reports that have plagued her show for months now, apologizing to those affected and taking responsibility going forward, the New York Times reports.

“As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation,” DeGeneres began. “I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power and I realized that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”

The monologue comes after a tumultuous few months for DeGeneres, who was the subject of multiple reports over the summer detailing a toxic workplace on the set of her show and accusing producers of sexual harassment. As a result, WarnerMedia launched an investigation into The Ellen DeGeneres Show and three producers were fired. Before her official Season 18 debut earlier this month, DeGeneres promised her viewers, “we’re gonna talk about it.”

Keeping true to her promise, she didn’t hold back on today’s show, even addressing the claims that she’s not really as nice as she seems. Over the summer, comedian Brad Garrett claimed that DeGeneres’ “horrible” behavior was “common knowledge” in the industry. DeGeneres owned up to her reputation as the “be kind lady,” and explained that her mantra began after the death of Tyler Clementi, a young man who killed himself after being bullied for his sexuality. “I thought the world needed more kindness and it was a reminder that we all needed that, and I think we need it more than ever right now,” she said.

Despite the rumors about her behavior behind the scenes, DeGeneres insisted that she shows her authentic self on camera. “The truth is I am that person that you see on TV,” she said. “I am also a lot of other things. Sometimes I get sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient.”

She later added, “I am a talk show host and you know that, but maybe some of you know that, you know, I was an actress. I’ve played a straight woman in movies so I’m a pretty good actress. But I don’t think that I’m that good that I could come out here every day for 17 years and fool you. This is me and my intention is to always be the best person I can be.

“And if I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that. If that’s ever the case, I have let myself down and I’ve hurt myself as well because I always try to grow as a person. I look at everything that comes into my life as an opportunity to learn. I got into this business to make people laugh and feel good — that’s my favorite thing to do. That and Jenga, I love that game.”

The Ellen DeGeneres Show returns for Season 18 today on NBC at 3/2c. Watch DeGeneres’ full monologue in the video above.

Where to watch The Ellen DeGeneres Show

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