After dumping on the autistic community all over Twitter, Sia reached international and mainstream media outlets. They broadcasted exactly how Sia abused the autistic and disability community as a whole. This was in response to the film Music that Sia created for her protege, Maddie Zeigler. She was cast as the main character, a non speaking autistic young woman.
Now Sia “apologized” for her conduct. “Looking back, I should have just shut up; I know that now. It was 3 in the morning, and even though I have a rule that I don’t do anything emotional past midnight, I f!@#ed up. “
An autistic actor had responded to Sia’s decision to cast a non disabled actress to play a non speaking autistic character by saying,”Several autistic actors, myself included . . . We all said we could have acted in it on short notice. These excuses are just that – excuses.”
Sia responded,”Maybe you’re just a bad actor. You have no f—-in idea because you weren’t there and haven’t seen the movie.”
She has told media that she had sought out an actress who is autistic for the role but could not handle the filming. Instead of finding another autistic actress, she chose Maddie Zeigler instead. Maddie is a neurotypical young woman. There are so many autistic actors and actresses in Hollywood, she would have had no issue finding someone.
“What I do know is that people functioning at Music’s level can’t get on Twitter and tell me I did a good job either. There’s a saying in AA that you’re better to understand than be understood. Sadly I forgot about that when I got on Twitter. I really just wanted to explain that I had tried all these different options.”
Sia learned nothing from the autistic people who caused a backlash. She is using functioning labels. If she had listened to what autistic people had been telling her, she would have dropped the functioning labels and know people who are non speaking can communicate by typing online. You do not need to use your actual voice to communicate online. Instead she compares the autistic community to alcoholics anonymous.
“Maddie is the reason the Twitter comments profoundly affected me,” Sia said. “She had researched her role for two years, we watched movies together and I taught her the nuances and ticks I had observed from a friend (with autism). We did this in the most sensitive and respectful way. She was worried people would think she was making fun of them. I promised her I wouldn’t let that happen.”
Sia started working with Maddie when she was a teen. Her relationship with Maddie seems very toxic. Maddie was worried about what autistic people would think of her role. She did not to be seen as mocking a marginalized group of people. The autistic people I have talked to are not angry at Maddie at all. Sia took advantage of her relationship with her. Sia taught Maddie how to imitate autistic people. She taught Maddie how to perpetuate stereotypes that advocates such as myself are trying to eliminate. She learned that by partnering with Autism Speaks for her research. If she had actually talked to autistic people, she would know exactly how to represent autistic people.
Your “apology” reeks just as bad as Billy Mann, the writer of “I am Autism.”
After Over One Year She Comes Out of the Woodwork
After about one year after Sia lashed out against autistic people having ciritism about her movie, she comes out of the woodwork. It has been reported that she relapsed and considered suicide after the backlash. Before she was well known, she struggled with addiction to alcohol and opoids. She did return to rehab.
In late 2021, Kathy Griffin told Sia a store about how she was exiled from Hollywood because of a joke about Donald Trump in 2017. It’s well known I don’t like him, but I do believe the joke was too far. I am happy she had someone to help her, I really am. No one should suffer alone.
Being suicidal myself, I won’t act on it, I can understand working on something so hard and it blowing up in your face can cause that. This does not excuse her behavior and how she treated autistic people trying to educate her.
We also do not know if this is a publicity stunt or not. I do not know if she actually relapsed. I do hope this was a publicity stunt and she did not actually struggle like that. No one should wish that on anyone.
Either way, this is very manipulative to blame a marginalized community on her mental health and addiction struggles. Being high profile, you are open to criticism of all kinds. It comes with the territory. Even a small advocate, such as myself.
With that being said, the movie should have never been made. This movie “doesn’t just promote harmful stereotypes about autistic people – it shows restraints that have killed members of our community as necessary and loving acts,” said Zoe Gross, Director of ASAN. “This film should have never been shown.”