Sia defends casting Maddie Ziegler in ‘Music’, Internet says it’s ‘big middle finger to autism community’

Sia had to face a lot of heat from social media users even after she tried her best to make them understand through multiple tweets

                            Sia defends casting Maddie Ziegler in ‘Music’, Internet says it’s ‘big middle finger to autism community’
Sia and Maddie Ziegler (Getty Images)

Australian crooner Sia recently shared the trailer of her directorial debut ‘Music’ which stars actor, dancer and model Maddie Ziegler in the role of an autistic teenager. The trailer got thumbs down from people online as they slammed the ‘Elastic Heart’ hitmaker for not roping-in a person with autism for the role.

The 44-year-old singer had to face a lot of heat from social media users even after she tried her best to make them understand in her multiple tweets that she did try hiring a person with autism, as reported by Us Magazine. While replying to a tweet she said, “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.” In another tweet, the Grammy nominee asserted, “the character was pretty low functioning and after attempting a few actors on the spectrum they suggested I use Maddie.” She added that she “spent three f**king years researching” the project, which is why she was “so f**king bummed” by the criticism. She also mentioned, “I cast thirteen neuroatypical people, three trans folk, and not as f**king prostitutes or drug addicts but as doctors, nurses and singers,” adding, “F**king sad nobody’s even seen the dang movie. My heart has always been in the right place. “




However, the singer got aggressive in her response when the backlash did not stop and again took to Twitter to express her opinion on the same. “Grrrrrrrrrr. F**kity f**k why don’t you watch my film before you judge it? FURY.”


This further led to more criticism as social media users again took to Twitter to slam Sia. One user posted, “grrr nothing, don’t monetize a community then. if you did this for awareness or anything other than $, you would have hired an actor with autism rather than having a neurotypical person fill the part. do better.” One user tweeted, “Literally f**k Sia, actual autistic people give her valid criticism on how she clearly did not do her research and did not put enough effort into this and then goes on to call those people “bad actors” and tries to promote such a hateful group like autism speaks.” Another user supported Sia and said, “I don’t see the big deal with Sia casting a non Autistic person in the role of an Autistic person.The best person got the part.For your information, I’m on the Autism spectrum.Last night, I watched Rain Man, a film in which Dustin Hoffman plays a person with Autism.”  While slamming the singer, one posted, “You made a film about a person who is disabled. You casted a person who is not disabled & who is actively mocking the autistic community with their performance. Those with autism are criticizing you. And you fire back & cry about people shitting on your film? Come on now.” Another furious user posted, “Sia's new film is basically a big middle finger to the autism community, as well as inspiration porn for neurotypicals. She worked with Autism Speaks to make the film and knew exactly what she was doing when casting. #SiaDoesntSpeakForUs #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs”






Sia is one of the most prominent music figures in the industry who has belted out hits like ‘Chandelier’, ‘Cheap Thrills,’ ‘Titanium’ with David Guetta and ‘Diamonds’ with Rihanna. Her directorial debut focuses on Music, a teenager with special needs who loves music. Her half-sister, who is a newly sober drug dealer becomes her guardian but also struggles with the new responsibility. The two along with their neighbor friend go on a journey of dreams and life challenges in this coming of age drama. According to IMDb, the film explores two of Sia's favorite themes i.e. finding your voice and what it means to create a family.

The lead role Music is played by Sia’s longtime collaborator Maddie Ziegler. This also marks her debut on the big screen. For the unversed, Maddie Ziegler has been featured in a lot of Sia’s music videos. Sia has also roped in Academy Award nominee Kate Hudson who plays Music’s half-sister and guardian Zu, a former drug dealer along with the Grammy award winner Leslie Odom Jr. who plays her friend Ebo.


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