Sia Speaks Out After Backlash Over Casting Maddie Ziegler as Autistic Character
By Liz Calvario
Sia is speaking out after she received backlash for a casting decision in her upcoming movie.
After the trailer for Music was released, many took to social media to call out Sia for casting Maddie Ziegler as a character with autism even though she isn't autistic. When one Twitter user replied that it was "a mighty shame" she excluded "disabled and neuro diverse actors from their own narratives," Sia made sure to share her side of the story.
"I cast thirteen neuroatypical people, three trans folk, and not as f**king prostitutes or drug addicts but as doctors, nurses and singers," the singer replied, adding that people haven't even seen the movie and that her "heart has always been in the right place."
She continued replying to a number of other people, who expressed their disappointment and asked why she didn't do her research.
"I spent three f**king years researching, I think that's why I'm so f**king bummed," she wrote about how she was feeling about the criticism.
One user also shared, "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."
Sia quipped back, "Maybe you're just a bad actor."
She also received some messages of support, telling the singer to not let the negativity get her down.
"Please ignore them Sia, 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," one person tweeted, to which Sia replied, "Thank you very much and I hope you love it as much as I do."
Music follows its titular character (portrayed by Ziegler, a longtime Sia collaborator), a teenager with autism who has a passion for music. Kate Hudson plays Music’s half-sister and guardian Zu, a former drug dealer, and Leslie Odom Jr. plays her friend, Ebo.