Sia’s foray into the film world has been a bit of a rollercoaster, and it looks like she’s ready to get off! Or at least dodge all the social commentary she’s received in droves.
With the recent news that the musician’s new film Music was nominated for two Golden Globes, a lot of heads have been spinning. Since its beginnings, this movie has been very controversial, especially by the likes of autistic viewers who feel the story and characters are anything but a true representation of their lived experience.
If you don’t know what we’re talking about, take a look at the trailer (below), starring Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr. and Maddie Ziegler.
After gaining a lot of criticism for a “restraint” scene depicted in the soon-to-be released movie (it drops February 10), Sia took to Twitter to apologize — a good reaction opposed to her former choice to attack critical thoughts of the trailer.
“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.”
Okay, so why include the scene in the first place then? If Sia’s true desire was to shine a positive light on the autism community, why didn’t she include one of the safer ways to handle a “meltdown” situation? Seems like a perfect way to really educate an audience if you ask us…
The Elastic Heart artist’s original solution to this problem wasn’t all that revolutionary, either. She added:
“I promise, have been listening. The motion picture MUSIC will, moving forward, have this warning at the head of the movie: MUSIC in no way condones or recommends the use of restraint on autistic people.”
But a few minutes later, she decided she would re-edit the film (perhaps after hearing many fans had decided they would not be watching MUSIC because of the triggering moment). Sia updated her stance, writing:
“I plan to remove the restraint scenes from all future printings. I listened to the wrong people and that is my responsibility, my research was clearly not thorough enough, not wide enough.”
We should note, this girl is singing a completely different tune than her harsh argument that she had consulted a variety of educators, autistic people, and experts while making the motion pic when the trailer initially received a lot of hate online. At that time, the Australian singer was caught defending her decision to cast frequent collaborator Maddie as a non-verbal lead on the autism spectrum, explaining:
“I actually tried working with [a] beautiful young girl non verbal on the spectrum and she found it unpleasant and stressful. So that’s why I cast Maddie.
“I’ve never referred to music as disabled. Special abilities is what I’ve always said, and casting someone at her level of functioning was cruel, not kind, so I made the executive decision that we would do our best to lovingly represent the community.
“…My character was pretty low functioning and after attempting a few actors on the spectrum they suggested I use Maddie.”
And when one autistic actor tried to point out that they do in fact exist and perhaps Sia could have expanded her search, the 45-year-old struck back with:
“Maybe you’re just a bad actor.”
Yikes! Such an unwarranted response. It was so clear to us that rather than have a serious conversation about why so many people within the autistic community were raising very valid concerns about the upcoming flick, Sia was more interested in being praised for her decision to cast disabled and trans characters.
But praise is no reason to make a film, honey!! She tried to do something good and messed up. All she ever had to do was apologize when her missteps were politely pointed out. Not all this… Sigh.
Perhaps the Golden Globe nominations (for Best Picture – Musical/Comedy and Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical for Kate Hudson) have helped ease some of the star’s aggressiveness. After all, she’s getting what she wants even if it’s not what so many viewers were hoping for.
Prior to deleting her social account, the filmmaker concluded:
Thoughts on this whole ordeal, Perezcious readers? Is Sia handling this controversy appropriately? Are Twitter users overreacting? Will you even being watching this new movie?? Sound OFF in the comments (below)!