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Sia’s movie debut about an autistic teen is branded ‘offensive and s**tty’

Singer Sia has hit back at critics after coming under fire for failing to cast an autistic actress in her debut movie Music, a film about a girl with the condition. 

The film, which comes out in February 2021, has been met with criticism due to the casting of dancer Maddie Ziegler, with whom Sia has frequently worked, as she plays the eponymous character despite not having autism.

After the trailer was released on Thursday, social media users slammed Sia, 44, for using Maddie, 18, and branded the teaser for the film ‘disappointing and offensive’ as they failed to cast an autistic actress in the part.

In a stream of emotional messages, the star, full name Sia Kate Isobelle Furler, responded to fans by insisting she did three years of research and decided it would be ‘cruel to cast somebody with Magic’s level of functioning’. 

In the title role: Singer Sia has hit back at critics after coming under fire for failing to cast an autistic actress in her debut movie Music, a film about a girl with the condition

Sia wrote and directed Music, which stars Kate Hudson and Leslie Odom, Jr, and tells the story of the eponymous autistic teen, who, due to unforetold circumstances, ends up in the care of her drug-dealer half-sister Zu, played by Kate. 

The film was described in a press release as: ‘Sia’s music is integral to the story of the film as the characters examine the fragile bonds that hold us together…

‘Through fantastical musical sequences, imagine a world where those bonds can be strengthened in times of great challenge.’ 

Some of the angry tweets from fans read: ‘The trailer is supposed to be putting the film’s best foot forward, also it’s hard to ignore that the main actress doesn’t have the disability she’s portraying :/ i’m a big fan of you but it’s just disappointing to see… 

At one point: The film, which comes out in February 2021, has been met with criticism due to the casting of dancer Maddie Ziegler, with whom Sia has frequently worked, as she plays the eponymous character despite not having autism

At one point: The film, which comes out in February 2021, has been met with criticism due to the casting of dancer Maddie Ziegler, with whom Sia has frequently worked, as she plays the eponymous character despite not having autism

Disappointed: She made her feelings clear amid the criticism

Disappointed: She made her feelings clear amid the criticism 

‘Autistic people are real and there are autistic actors whose jobs are being taken by non-autistic actors. your comparison is s**tty and frankly offensive…

‘WORK WITH AUTISTIC PEOPLE.. CAST AN AUTISTIC PERSON! FOR F**K’S SAKES!…

‘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’.

Sia then launched her defense in a slew of tweets, including messages revealing that many of the cast members had autism themselves.  

Pained: After the trailer was released on Thursday, social media users slammed Sia, 44, for using Maddie, 18, and branded the teaser for the film 'disappointing and offensive' as they failed to cast an autistic actress in the part

Pained: After the trailer was released on Thursday, social media users slammed Sia, 44, for using Maddie, 18, and branded the teaser for the film ‘disappointing and offensive’ as they failed to cast an autistic actress in the part

She detailed: ‘I cast thirteen neuroatypical people, three trans folk, and not as f**king prostitutes or drug addicts but s as doctors, nurses and singers. F**king sad nobody’s even seen the dang movie. My heart has always been in the right place.’

When asked: ‘Did you do any research or consult the community at all? It’s very condescending to say it would be cruel to consult a disabled actor’.

Sia responded: ‘Duh. I spent three f**king years researching, I think that’s why I’m so f**king bummed.’

Star: Kate Hudson plays her sister in the movie

Star: Kate Hudson plays her sister in the movie

She then spoke of how charity Autism Speaks worked alongside her in the movie, as she penned: ‘Autism speaks came on board long after the film was finished, four years in fact. I had no idea it was such a polarizing group!’ 

Jumping to her defence, a fan wrote: ‘Please ignore them Sia, I’m a disabled person and am not offended by the premise of your film…

‘I have been criticised by some of the disabled community for my opinion but my opinion remains unchanged.I look forward to seeing it and judging it on its merits.’

She responded: ‘Thank you very much and I hope you love it as much as I do’.  


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