Sia faces backlash after casting a non-disabled actor as an autistic teen in her film, Music
Singer-songwriter and now film director Sia has been facing backlash ever since the trailer of her upcoming film Music, which she says is based on a close friend, has released. Many actors and activists are critical of her decision to cast Maddie Ziegler, a non-disabled actor, to play an autistic character.
The news you've been waiting for! Music, the movie written & directed by Sia + starring Kate Hudson, @leslieodomjr & @maddieziegler, will be arriving in early 2021! Watch a sneak peek of the movie right here. pic.twitter.com/w38L2UtIhJ— sia (@Sia) November 19, 2020
Irish actor Bronagh Waugh wrote,"Hi Sia, can I ask why you didn't cast a disabled actor for this part? It's pretty offensive the way you've chosen to portray this character. People with disabilities are not broken and don't need fixing. Many of my friends have different disabilities and they are some of the coolest, most talented, funny, kind, intelligent people I know. They are also the most under-represented and inaccurately represented group in our society. This kind of inaccurate, offensive representation causes so much pain."
"Were all the disabled actors / writers / producers and consultants unavailable? Why else would anybody make such a inaccurate, inauthentic, outdated narrative about disability? Is “Coming 2021” is a typo and it was meant to say “Coming 1921”?," wrote British actor, presenter and campaigner Adam Pearson.
"I read Sia didn’t cast an autistic actor because the tight schedule would be too much pressure. There are autistic people working as paramedics, nurses, firefighters etc. but NTs think there’s not a single autistic who could handle the pressure of a tight filming schedule," wrote a user.
Sia responded to the criticism but many found her response disappointing. The singer wrote, ""Grrrrrrrrrr. Fuckity fuck why don’t you watch my film before you judge it? FURY."
Reacting to her tweet, American comedian and activist Franchesca Ramsey wrote, "People are allowed to feel however they want about the work. But especially when you take it upon yourself to tell the story of an underrepresented & often misrepresented community the LEAST you could do is include/consult them. Otherwise, are you really advocating for them?"