'I should have just shut up': Sia walks back comments after being criticized for ableism
Sia goes back to comments she made after social media users criticized her for not including anyone on the autism spectrum to play an autistic character in her upcoming film, "Music".
"Looking back, I should have just shut up; I know that now," the singer recently told Australia's Sydney Morning Herald. She doubled her decision at the time.
"It was 3 o'clock in the morning, and although my rule is that I don't do anything emotional after midnight, this time I'm (expletively) awake."
The film shows Kate Hudson as Zu recording her half-sister Music (Maddie Ziegler) with autism spectrum disorder. Leslie Odom Jr. plays a neighbor who helps maintain the music.
Ziegler's casting led to contempt and accusations of skill awareness, which is defined as discrimination against people with disabilities.
One of Sia's critics tweeted at the time: "Several autistic actors including me ... We all said we could have acted in it for a short time. Those excuses are just those excuses," @HelenAngel wrote on Twitter. "The fact is, no effort has been made to include anyone who is actually autistic."
"Maybe you're just a bad actor," Sia wrote back. In another reply to the same tweet, she wrote, "You don't have an (explicit) idea because you weren't there and haven't seen the movie."
Sia also told the Herald that she was looking for someone on the autism spectrum for the role, but that they thought the film was too disturbing.
The singer-songwriter has highly praised 18-year-old Ziegler, an alum from Lifetime's "Dance Moms". Sia says the teenager put her heart into the role of music and made sure to portray the character in a respectful way.
The two previously worked together on Sia's single "Chandelier".
"Maddie is why I was deeply affected by the Twitter comments," Sia told the Herald. "She had researched her role for two years, we watched movies together, and I taught her the nuances and ticks that I saw from (a) friend (with autism). We did this in the most sensitive and respectful way possible. She was worried people would make fun of her. I promised her I wouldn't let that happen. "
Contributor: Gary Dinges
In other news: Sia claims Shia LaBeouf "hurt her emotionally" supports FKA branches' lawsuit against him
More details on the casting controversy: After Sia was criticized for her ability, she defends the portrayal of autism in a new film
This article originally appeared in the US TODAY: Sia Goes Back and Comments on Autism after Ability Awareness Criticism
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