Sia cops a spray online over autism row
Adelaide-born music superstar Sia Furler has found herself in the centre of an online storm after casting her longtime muse Maddie Ziegler as a teenager with non-verbal autism in her feature film debut.
The 44-year-old singer has co-written and directed Maddie in the upcoming movie Magic with the trailer premiering online on Friday.
But soon after the trailer dropped, backlash ensued thanks to Sia's casting of 18-year-old Ziegler - who is not on the autism spectrum - as a teenager called Music, who has non-verbal autism.
Sia herself has also drawn critiscim thanks to responses to critics who have called out the decision.
One particular response to an actor with autism who was not asked to audition had Sia arguing that the critic may have just been a 'bad actor'.
Several autistic actors, myself included, responded to these tweets. We all said we could have acted in it on short notice. These excuses are just that- excuses. The fact of the matter is zero effort was made to include anyone who is actually autistic.#NothingAboutUsWithoutUs— Helen Z #BlackLivesMatter #Pride2020 (@HelenAngel) November 20, 2020
In another reply to the same tweet, Sia wrote: "You have no f***ing idea because you weren't there and haven't seen the movie."
Sia went on to say the character was based on a close friend and that while she tried to hire an autistic actor "It felt more compassionate to use Maddie. That was my call."
She also said that there were "thirteen people on the spectrum in the movie."
Music also features actors Kate Hudson and Leslie Odom Jr.
The Advertiser has reached out to Sia's management for comment.
Originally published as Sia cops a spray online over autism row
Maybe you’re just a bad actor.— sia (@Sia) November 20, 2020