Aussie singer-songwriter Sia is the living example of Ted Mosby’s “nothing good happens after 2 am” rule.
Australian artist Sia Furler has spent the last few weeks digging herself into a very deep hole. After receiving backlash for casting neurotypical actress Maddie Ziegler as an autistic character in her upcoming film Music, the pop icon proceeded to defend her decision with some less-than-satisfactory responses.
In a recent interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Furler reflected on her tone-deaf comments and admits that she said she “should have just shut up.”
Exactly a month ago, Sia shared the trailer for Music on her Twitter. The film quickly received criticism for its casting of Maddie Ziegler as a non-verbal autistic character, striking a chord in the ongoing scandal surrounding the television and film industry’s tone-deaf representation of characters and casting choices.
However, instead of listening to the neurodivergent community about the harmful implications of her decision, Sia went on the defence. “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,” she Tweeted.
With a budget like theirs surely they could make the accommodations to make a child comfortable in that environment? Especially given the film is literally about this topic?
Or just not go straight from “this is cruel for this one specific child” to therefore we use Maddie?
— ScarletteUmaga (@ScarletteUmaga) November 21, 2020
“She (Maddie) researched the role for two years, we watched movies together, and I taught her nuances and ticks I had observed from a friend [with autism]… She was worried people would make fun of her. I promised her I wouldn’t let that happen,” Sia continued.
In hindsight, the artist now says that she regrets not taking the high road: “Looking back, I should have just shut up; I know that now… It was three in the morning, and even though I have a rule that I don’t do anything emotional past midnight, I fucked up this time”.
So she doesn’t even now “low/high function autism” is a harmful term. If her answer is “I should have ignored the criticism” then she clearly shouldn’t have made that movie. How is she qualified to teach Maddie Z. about autistic “nuances and ticks”? It’s all just so wrong.
— Katia Luyo (@katialuyo) December 21, 2020
Grrrrrrrrrr. Fuckity fuck why don’t you watch my film before you judge it? FURY.
— sia (@Sia) November 20, 2020
Making her directorial debut, it is undeniable that Furler would be under a mountain of pressure. In her interview with SMH, she discusses the stress of making the film and her fears that she will be cast into “artist purgatory” as a result of the scandal.
If there is anything we can learn from Sia, it would be to never do anything emotional past midnight
Music will be out in cinemas on January 14th. Check out the trailer below:
The news you’ve been waiting for! 🙌 Music, the movie written & directed by Sia + starring Kate Hudson, @leslieodomjr & @maddieziegler, will be arriving in early 2021! Watch a sneak peek of the movie right here. pic.twitter.com/w38L2UtIhJ
— sia (@Sia) November 19, 2020