Sia’s recent release of her self-directed and written film titled “Music,” has caused multiple controversies and uproar from the public. The plot of “Music” revolves around the main character Music, a young girl with autism. The public criticized the film’s extreme insensitivity to the autistic community because Sia did not cast a person with actual autism to play the main character Music, Many of the scenes acted out by the main character Music appeared to appropriate and inadvertently mock the autistic community. Thus, the movie was deemed inappropriate by many audiences, from professional critics to casual viewers.
“I can see why the movie was uncomfortable to the audience,” said Rachel Lee (12), a fan of movies. “Especially when producing films that involve such sensitive topics, I think it is important for the director to consider how they can carefully incorporate it without offending certain communities. Unfortunately, Sia could not successfully carry this out because of the problematic casting.”
Maddie Ziegler, a famous 18-year-old American dancer, was casted by Sia to play the main character Music. Sia and Ziegler have collaborated with each other since 2014, first starring in Sia’s music video titled“Chandelier.” The decision to cast Ziegler to play the main character Music made the public furious as she is not on the autistic spectrum herself. Along with this controversy, the actress has been receiving further criticism for her cartoonish portrayal, although she denied the role many times and was unwilling to participate in the film.
“It is sad to see how Maddie Ziegler is receiving criticism for starring in the movie,” said Yewon Yun (12), another fan of movies. “I think she initially declined the role because she knew that acting as a character on the autistic spectrum would be excessively difficult and would eventually cause controversy. Aside from the film itself, the fact that Sia forced Ziegler into playing the role is also a major reason why the singer is receiving intense backlash.”
Despite apologizing on Twitter, Sia has received further backlash. She stated in her apology that she did try to cast actual actors on the autism spectrum, but her plan ultimately did not work out. Many people pointed out how her apology is full of excuses, and how she should not have released this film in the first place if she knew how much controversy it was going to spark, especially with major misrepresentation of the autistic community throughout the film and failure to deal with a sensitive topic.