Sia's Non-Apology After Lashing Out At Autistic Community Is 'Insulting': Advocates
Sia responded on Twitter about why she attacked the autism and disability community after many raised concerns about the casting in her upcoming film, Music.
“Looking back, I should have just shut up; I know that now, ”said the singer from“ Chandelier ”to the Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday.
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"It was three in the morning, and although my rule is that I don't do anything emotional after midnight, this time I screwed it up." When a trailer of Sia's directorial debut was released last month, the pop star immediately received backlash. Among the many concerns that advocates of disabilities and autistic people expressed about the trailer was that Maddie Ziegler - an 18-year-old dancer who starred in several of the Australian singer's music videos - was cast as the lead actress.
Sia and Maddie Ziegler perform together in Seattle in 2016. (Photo: Mat Hayward via Getty Images)
The film follows a girl named Music (Ziegler), a non-verbal autistic teenager who uses augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). This means that music in the movie uses a device to communicate with people around them. Unlike music, Ziegler is not on the autism spectrum and does not need to use AAC to express himself.
But instead of listening to the concerns of disabled people, Sia hit them on Twitter.
Sia told the Herald that she feels misunderstood by her autistic and disabled critics - a community that is itself greatly misunderstood. Sia also noted that she initially reached out to a person with autism to play the role of music, but that person found the process too stressful.
"What I do know is that people who work at the music level cannot access Twitter and tell me that I did a good job too," Sia told the news agency. "There is a saying in AA that you understand better than be understood. Unfortunately, I forgot when I was on Twitter. I just wanted to explain that I tried all of these different options and did my best."
"I didn't see any apology from Sia, however," Zoe Gross, operations manager for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, told HuffPost via email. "Including in [the Heralds] article."
Gross also said she found Sia's comment that "people who work at the music level can't access Twitter and tell me I did a good job" is "particularly worrying".
"Firstly, because the idea of 'working levels' is an outdated, vague and derogatory concept that harms people with developmental disabilities regardless of our need for support," Gross told HuffPost. Second, because all types of autistic people use social media - non-speaking autistic people, autistic people with intellectual disabilities, autistic people who cannot live independently and need assistance with daily tasks - and many of them advocated finding Sia's film offensive and their comments about abusive autistic people. "
Advocates of disabilities and people with autism also expressed anger at this particular comment.
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