Sia Regrets Defending Her Film After Criticism From Disability Activists Over Autistic Character

Niamh Shackleton


Sia Regrets Defending Her Film After Criticism From Disability Activists Over Autistic CharacterVariety/YouTube/IMAX

Sia has said that she regrets defending her film Music and admitted that she ‘f*cked up’.

The Elastic Heart singer received backlash for casting an non-autistic actor in the film, which is based on an autistic child that ends up in the care of her older sister.

Maddie Ziegler, who has worked on many projects with Sia, plays the lead role of an autistic girl named Music. Kate Hudson also stars.

Watch the trailer here:


Sia later responded to criticism she received for casting Ziegler as the lead rather than an autistic actor. The National Autistic Society wrote about the singer, ‘Sia has got this one wrong. There are so many talented autistic actors out there – like Saskia, Alex, Max, and Holly who starred in our #AutismTMI films.’

Sia, full name Sia Kate Isobelle Furler, responded with:

Obviously I feel really sad that I feel I’ve upset people and especially people on the spectrum. My intention was love love love.

This was to represent a low functioning gal with a magical imagination and intuition. I feel I cast the right person. Super great for the ‘type’ I’m trying to represent. She was so delicate and sensitive and conscious. Her peers on the spectrum loved her.

A month on from her responses, Sia now says she regrets having ever said anything.

Discussing the matter with the Sydney Morning Herald, the 45-year-old said:

Looking back, I should have just shut up; I know that now. It was three in the morning, and even though I have a rule that I don’t do anything emotional past midnight, I f*cked up this time.

She continued, ‘What I do know is that people functioning at Music’s level can’t get on Twitter and tell me I did a good job either. There’s a saying in AA that you’re better to understand, than be understood. Sadly I forgot about that when I got on Twitter. I really just wanted to explain that I had tried all these different options and done my best.’

Sia went on to explain that it was people’s reaction towards 18-year-old Ziegler that made her react the way that she did.

HanWay Films

She explained to the Australian publication:

Maddie is the reason the Twitter comments profoundly affected me. She had researched her role for two years, we watched movies together, and I taught her the nuances and ticks I had observed from [a] friend [with autism].

We did this in the most sensitive and respectful way. She was worried people would make fun of her. I promised her I wouldn’t let that happen.

As it stands, Music is set to make its debut in February 2021.

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Topics: Celebrity, Autism, Backlash, Film and TV, Now, Sia, Twitter


Sydney Morning Herald
  1. Sydney Morning Herald

    Sia opens up about lashing out on Twitter to defend her new film

Niamh Shackleton
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