Sia Responds to Backlash Over Trailer for Directorial Debut 'Music'

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday November 20, 2020

Sia  (Source:Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Strong negative reactions to the just-released trailer for Sia's directorial debut, "Music," seems to have caught the Australian pop singer off guard, Billboard reports.

In the film's one-minute trailer, the title character, Music, is non-verbal and with an unspecified disability, communicating through song and dance. Sia also wrote the script and ten songs for the soundtrack. Despite a swarming of support from fans, Sia responded to social media backlash, tweeting Friday morning, "Grrrrrrrrrr. Fuckity fuck why don't you watch my film before you judge it? FURY."

Among those who took Sia to task are Irish actress Bronagh Waugh, who tweeted "Hi Sia, can I ask why you didn't cast a disabled actor for this part? It's pretty offensive the way you've chosen to portray this character. People with disabilities are not broken and don't need fixing. Many of my friends have different disabilities and they are some of the ---," to which Sia responded, "I agree. I've never referred to music as disabled. Special abilities is what I've always said, and casting someone at her level of functioning was cruel, not kind, so I made the executive decision that we would do our best to lovingly represent the community."

One tweet asked "did you do any research or consult the community at all?," and that it was "very condescending" when Sia said it would be "cruel" to cast the person on which Music is based rather than actress Maddie Ziegler. Sia responded by saying, "He found it too stressful being non verbal, and I made this movie with nothing but love for him and his mother" and also commented that there were "thirteen people on the spectrum in the movie," chiding commenters, "fucking bullshit. You have no fucking idea because you weren't there and haven"t {sic} seen the movie."

In the midst of the comments and Sia's replies, the singer noted that among her advisors were two people on the spectrum and that she conducted three years worth of research, saying "the movie is both a love letter to caregivers and to the autism community... I believe this movie is beautiful, Will create more good than harm and if I'm wrong I'll pay for it for the rest of my life."

Watch the trailer for "Music":

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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