Representative Image

Sia addresses backlash to new film's portrayal of autism: 'I believe this movie is beautiful

Nov 21, 2020

Washington DC (USA) Nov 21: Sia is addressing the backlash she's received after casting former "Dance Moms" star Maddie Ziegler as a character with autism in her new movie "Music" even though the 18-year-old is not autistic in real-life.
After Sia tweeted out the trailer for the upcoming movie on Thursday, which she directed and co-wrote, a Twitter user responded: "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. I've been a long time fan of your work, so this is really disappointing."
The tweet caught the attention of the 44-year-old singer who hit back, stating that it's "f--king sad nobody's even" seen the movie and that her "heart has always been in the right place."
"I cast thirteen neuroatypical people, three trans folk, and not as f--king prostitutes or drug addicts but s [sic] as doctors, nurses and singers," Sia said.
Sia continued to respond to a number of people including one individual who wrote, "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. The fact of the matter is zero effort was made to include anyone who is actually autistic. #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs."
"Maybe you're just a bad actor," replied the star.
Meanwhile, another social media user said that although they love Ziegler, Sia should have consulted "actual autistic people and have autistic people play autistic people."
"I did try. It felt more compassionate to use Maddie. That was my call," Sia wrote back.
One person slammed Sia stating that the call is "totally unacceptable and there are no excuses," telling the songstress that she "should know better than to allow able bodied & neurotypical to represent the disabled community."
"I believe this movie is beautiful, Will create more good than harm and if I'm wrong I'll pay for it for the rest of my life," responded Sia.
She did have a handful of supporters, however. "Please ignore them Sia," said one person. "I'm a disabled person and am not offended by the premise of your film. I have been criticised by some of the disabled community for my opinion but my opinion remains unchanged.I look forward to seeing it and judging it on its merits."
Sia replied thanking the fan and telling them, "I hope you love it as much as I do."
The movie follows Music (Ziegler), a teen with autism who is passionate about music. Ziegler has not publicly responded to the backlash.
Reps for Sia did not immediately respond to Fox News' request seeking additional comment.
Source: Fox News