Sia Apologizes to Autism Community Amid ‘Music’ Controversy: “I Have Been Listening”

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Following months of outrage from the autism community, Sia has announced that Music, her Golden Globe-nominated directorial debut, will now feature a warning label at the beginning of the film. In a series of since-deleted tweets, Sia finally addressed the controversy and apologized to members of the community who have called out the film’s portrayal of a nonverbal autistic person by a neurotypical actor, Maddie Ziegler. “I promise, I have been listening,” wrote Sia.

According to Variety, Sia posted a series of tweets on Wednesday night addressing the controversy surrounding Music, then deleted her Twitter account shortly after. Sia promised that in the wake of the backlash, “The motion picture MUSIC will, moving forward, have this warning at the head of the movie: MUSIC in no way condones or recommends the use of restraint on autistic people. There are autistic occupational therapists that specialize in sensory processing who can be consulted to explain safe ways to provide proprioceptive, deep-pressure feedback to help w meltdown safety.”

The pre-film warning references a series of scenes that feature the use of restraint on people with autism, including Ziegler’s character. These scenes, Sia tweeted, will be removed from public screenings of the film and “all future printings.” Added the singer-turned-director, “I listened to the wrong people and that is my responsibility, my research was clearly not thorough enough, not wide enough.”

Sia’s Twitter statement came just a few hours after Music was nominated for two Golden Globes, both of which came as a surprise to many film buffs. The film was nominated for Best Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actress in a Comedy for star Kate Hudson. Due to the shift in film eligibility dates, Music, a February 2021 release, is able to compete at this year’s show. The film is currently scheduled to debut in select IMAX theaters on February 10, and will arrive on demand two days later, on February 12.

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