Sia’s New Movie Slammed For Portrayal Of Autism, Singer Blasts Critics – Singer Sia has hit back at critics after coming under fire for failing to cast an autistic actress in her debut movie Music, a film about a girl with the condition.
Sia’s New Movie Slammed For Portrayal Of Autism, Singer Blasts Critics:
Sia won’t face the music surrounding her new movie.
The “Cheap Thrills” singer, 44, debuted the trailer for her film, “Music,” starring Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr. and Maddie Ziegler, on Thursday, and immediately faced criticism for casting Ziegler as a character with autism even though she’s not autistic in real life.
The film, which comes out in February 2021, has been met with criticism due to the casting of dancer Maddie Ziegler, with whom Sia has frequently worked, as she plays the eponymous character despite not having autism.
After the trailer was released on Thursday, social media users slammed Sia, 44, for using Maddie, 18, and branded the teaser for the film ‘disappointing and offensive’ as they failed to cast an autistic actress in the part.
In a stream of emotional messages, the star, full name Sia Kate Isobelle Furler, responded to fans by insisting she did three years of research and decided it would be ‘cruel to cast somebody with Magic’s level of functioning’.
Sia wrote and directed Music, which stars Kate Hudson and Leslie Odom, Jr, and tells the story of the eponymous autistic teen, who, due to unforetold circumstances, ends up in the care of her drug-dealer half-sister Zu, played by Kate.
The film was described in a press release as: “Sia’s music is integral to the story of the film as the characters examine the fragile bonds that hold us together…
“Through fantastical musical sequences, imagine a world where those bonds can be strengthened in times of great challenge.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with autism have trouble with social, emotional and communication skills that usually develop before the age of three and last throughout a person’s life.
Sia’s Movie Debut About An Autistic Teen Is Branded ‘Offensive’ As She Furiously Hits Back By Insisting She Undertook Extensive Research:
Keen to work towards more exposure for autistic people in the public eye, Twitters users questioned Sia over why she did not use an autistic actress.
“It’s a mighty shame that someone with such a colossal platform is using it to exclude disabled and neuro diverse actors from their own narratives,” tweeted one fan. “I’ve been a long time fan of your work, so this is really disappointing.”
Sia defended herself, claiming she hired various people with disabilities and some from the LGBTQ community.
“I cast thirteen neuroatypical people, three trans folk, and not as f–king prostitutes or drug addicts but s as doctors, nurses and singers,” she wrote. “F–king sad nobody’s even seen the dang movie. My heart has always been in the right place.”
“Several autistic actors, myself included, responded to these tweets. We all said we could have acted in it on short notice. These excuses are just that- excuses,” tweeted one woman in response. “The fact of the matter is zero effort was made to include anyone who is actually autistic. #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs”
Sia, however, felt differently about her casting approach.
“Maybe you’re just a bad actor,” she responded.
“the f–king state of how sia is responding to autistic people with valid criticisms of her film…we’re all adorable and easily fetishised and fun to make movies about until we speak lmao,” tweeted another user in response to Sia’s “bad actor” claim.
At some point, the “Chandelier” performer had enough with the backlash and snapped, “Grrrrrrrrrr. F–kity f–k why don’t you watch my film before you judge it? FURY.”
The movie centers on Music (Ziegler), a teenager with autism who has a passion for music. Hudson plays Music’s half-sister and guardian Zu, a former drug dealer, and Leslie Odom Jr. plays her friend Ebo.