Sia has issued a statement apologising to the autism community for her controversial film Music, which scored a nomination Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy at the 2021 Golden Globe Awards yesterday.
The hamfisted film garnered criticism for casting Sia’s frequent collaborator Maddie Ziegler, a neurotypical actor, in the role of a nonverbal autistic person. As well as concern over a scene in the film that depicts physical restraint.
As Variety report, Sia took to Twitter to acknowledge that she had “been listening” to criticism of Music and that future public screenings of the film will be prefaced with the following message:
MUSIC in no way condones or recommends the use of restraint on autistic people. There are autistic occupational therapists that specialize in sensory processing who can be consulted to explain safe ways to provide proprioceptive, deep-pressure feedback to help w meltdown safety.
“I’m sorry,” Sia tweeted. The musician went on to confirm that she intends to scrap all restraint scenes from future public screenings of the film. “I plan to remove the restraint scenes from all future printings,” she wrote. “I listened to the wrong people and that is my responsibility, my research was clearly not thorough enough, not wide enough.”
Following the string of tweets, Sia deactivated her Twitter account.
Back in November, Sia responded to the criticism of Music, specifically the casting of Ziegler. Revealing that she initially attempted to cast a non-verbal actress on the spectrum.
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“I actually tried working with a a beautiful young girl non-verbal on the spectrum and she found it unpleasant and stressful. So that’s why I cast Maddie,” she wrote.
She continued, “Casting someone at (the character’s) level of functioning was cruel, not kind, so I made the executive decision that we would do our best to lovingly represent the community…. I did try. It felt more compassionate to use Maddie. That was my call.”
Sia emphasised that that there “are 13 people on the spectrum in the movie,” and that she “had two people on the spectrum advising [her] at all times.”