Sia apologizes for autism depiction in new film ‘Music’ following Golden Globes nomination
Among the films nominated for 2021 Gold Globes awards is Music, a film directed and co-written by pop star Sia and starring Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr and, in the film's title role, dancer/Sia collaborator Maddie Ziegler, who has appeared many of Sia's videos, including "Chandelier." Music scored two nominations -- Best Comedy or Musical, as well as Best Actress for Kate Hudson's role of Zu, and here's the synopsis: "Zu is newly sober when she receives news that she is to become the sole guardian of her half-sister named Music, a young girl on the autism spectrum. The film explores two of Sia's favourite themes finding your voice and creating family."
The film's return to the spotlight also sparked wider outrage from the autism community over neurotypical Ziegler's portrayal of Music. In a series of tweets which have since been deleted -- along with Sia's whole Twitter account -- Sia said that she has "been listening" to the criticism and that the film is being re-edited and will contain a warning label.
Via Variety, which captured the tweets before they were taken down, Sia wrote: “I promise, have been listening. The motion picture MUSIC will, moving forward, have this warning at the head of the movie." She then Tweeted the warning: “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.”
There has been controversy around Music from the start. Back in November, Sia addressed criticisms of the film with series of tweets (that were deleted before everything else got deleted), including "Grrrrrrrrrr. Fuckity fuck why don’t you watch my film before you judge it? FURY." On Thursday morning, before deleting her Twitter, she simply wrote, "I'm sorry," followed by "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."
Music isn't even out yet, and is set to hit theaters (wherever they are open) and VOD on February 12. For those curious, you can watch the trailer for Music below.