Sia Apologizes Over Autism Misrepresentation In Feature Film Debut ‘Music’
By Izza Sofia, 09 Feb 2021
Image via Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com
Sia has apologized to the public after receiving criticism for her latest project, a feature film titled Music.
The film is deemed controversial as it portrays the autistic community through actress Maddie Ziegler, who the singer had decided to cast, as well as displayed restraint scenes.
Sia herself directed the short, in addition to writing and performing 10 songs for the movie. Her short has been highly debated over in the past months, but found itself in the spotlight again after it was nominated for two Golden Globes awards, prompting Sia to delete her account.
Back in November, internet users argued over Sia’s choice to cast Ziegler, a neurotypical actress, as a nonverbal autistic person, and declared that her use of terms like “special abilities” and “disabled” was “ignorant.”
Sia defended her decision, stating that the film was “a love letter to caregivers and the autism community.”
“I have my unique view of the community and felt it is underrepresented and compelled to make it. If that makes me s**t, I’m a s**t, but my intentions are awesome,” she responded then.
This prompted a Change.org petition, calling for the film’s cancelation.
After the film was nominated for two Golden Globes, the singer reacted to the film’s criticism and feedback with a different tone. She apologized on Twitter with a slew of tweets, which have been taken down at the time of writing. According to Variety, Sia said that, “Music in no way condones or recommends the use of restraint on autistic people.”
She admitted that she had “listened to the wrong people” and her “research was not thorough enough.” She now plans to “remove the restraint scenes.”
The film will be adjusted accordingly before its scheduled release in selected theaters come 10 February.
Ya know what, I love @sia music but this is deeply screwed up. To make a movie exploiting disabled people, cast someone in a caricature, imply a disabled person couldn’t do it, claim that working with Autism Speaks and not ppl with autism is research? So screwed up.— Katie Porter’s white board (@amyhughey) November 20, 2020
Congratulations @Sia for the awesome #MusicFilm. Amazing music, wonderful performances. @maddieziegler incredible as Music: respectful portrayal, don’t listen to the naysayers. Watch it. Can’t wait for the soundtrack.— politics (@pollwatcher9) January 14, 2021
Sia's new film, Music, has an autistic character central to the plot, played by the not autistic actor Maddie Ziegler. Consultations on autism were made with Autism Speaks, the American 'let's cure autism' organisation that is widely despised by the autistic community. /2— Pete Wharmby (@commaficionado) November 20, 2020
Casting a non-autistic person to portray an autistic person puts that actor at a huge disadvantage. If you're not autistic, it's pretty hard to imagine what it's like. Chances are high the performance will fall back on old stereotyping and caricature. /4— Pete Wharmby (@commaficionado) November 20, 2020
You are such a vulture. I previously defended your music video with Shia L and an underage Maddie Ziegler but maybe I'll take your advice and agree to disagree with what you were trying to do there. 🤔🤷♀️— Tamara (@itsmagicouthere) July 2, 2020
[via Today, cover image via Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com]
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