Sia’s new movie is a musical flop

Sia faces backlash after release of her controversial movie “Music”

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Singer songwriter Sia received hate after the release of her new Movie “Music” as it was said to be found offensive to people on the spectrum.

Viviana Avila, Staff writer

Sia recently released a new movie called “Music” that has left viewers and critics wondering what on earth she was thinking when she made the movie. 

Sia is an Australian singer and songwriter who has increased in popularity over the past years. However, after her release of the movie “Music” on February 10 she has lost several fans and people are even petitioning for her movie to be excluded from the Golden Globe Awards after it was nominated for the best motion picture for musical/comedy.    

One of the issues that people had with the movie was that Sia did not hire an autistic actor to play the role of the autistic character. Instead, she casted Maddie Ziegler, an 18 year old dancer and actor best known for her appearance in the T.V. series “Dance Moms” back in 2011. 

“I understand why people would want someone who’s actually on the spectrum with autism to play this character,” Ziegler said.

Although hiring an autistic actor probably would have  saved Sia from all this controversy, I don’t completely agree that not hiring an actor with autism was the problem.

There have been many great movies and shows about autism that have caught the audience’s attention in a positive way. A good example would be the Netflix series “Atypical” which incorporated a lot of humor without coming off as offensive or mocking .

This show was so successful, it won the best television show award back in 2018 and got the Ruderman Family Foundation seal of Authentic Representation in 2020. What really shocked the audience was that Keir Gilchrist, the actor who plays the autistic role in the show, Sam, was not really autistic.

This comes to show that you do not need to hire an autistic actor in order to accurately portray autism as what it really is.

But with Sia’s movie, members of the autism community were outraged and are saying that the movie does not give its viewers a good representation of what autism is but instead came off as mockery.

“Ziegler’s dancing is expressive as ever, but she has been directed to pantomime an exaggerated apery of disability,” the New York Times said.

Critics say that Sia should have done her research about what autism is, how it affects people, and the different levels of autism rather than stereotypically mimicking the autism community.

“If we take a look at Ziegler’s portrayal, she is stereotypically mimicking autistic people the exact same way autistic people have been bullied and mocked their entire lives,” Los Angeles Times said when talking about the interview with Sia.

Although Sia was behind the whole project and production of the movie, many are blaming Ziegler for portraying the character in that offensive manner. 

However, it seems as if Ziegler does not  have much to say about the whole situation. “I’ve actually stayed out of it just because, you know, I’m 18 years old and it is a lot of pressure,” Ziegler said in response to one of Sia’s comments according to Independent news.

I agree with critics and reviewers that Maddie could have backed out from the project, considering she is legally an adult, but there is information that leads me as well as others to think that Sia is the real problem.

In the past, there have been several accusations over Sia being overly controlling over Ziegler, and even as far as having an obsession over her.

Ziegler booked her first job with Sia when she was only 11 years old after Sia reached out to her in regards to being the lead in her music video “Chandelier”. Ziegler has been working for her ever since.

In a recent interview, Sia stated that she “can’t do a project without her” when explaining why she casted Ziegler to portray the character with autism. This just does not sit right with the public.

Although Sia has denied having an “obsession”, she did not  hesitate to admit that she has  tried to keep Ziegler from doing any other projects instead she keeps making projects for her so they can continue working together. If that is  not seen as an obsession, then I don’t know what is. 

It seems as if Sia is unbothered with the whole situation and rumors but in regards to the backlash she received on her movie, she tweeted that she will remove the restraint scenes from all future printings. Lastly, she tweeted “I’m sorry” before deactivating her twitter account.

She has been really quiet on social media since then but we’ll never really know for sure if Sia sincerely meant her apology or if she only said what she thought her fans and the public would want to hear.