The Kate Hudson-starring musical drama has been slammed for its portrayal of autism, and the ‘Chandelier’ hitmaker, who serves as its director, was criticized for Maddie Ziegler casting.
- Feb 18, 2021
The film has been slammed for its portrayal of autism, and the new Change.org petition is calling on critics and industry officials to let first-time director Sia know her film is not OK.
“Music is severely ableist and contributes to harmful stereotypes of autistic people,” the petition reads. “The Golden Globes must rescind its two nominations for Best Musical/Comedy Picture and Best Musical/Comedy Actress: Kate Hudson, and the entertainment industry must promise to actively work towards inclusion and better disability representation.”
The author of the petition insists the film is unwatchable for those with autism due to “strobing lights” and “quick camera movements.”
“About 1 in 4 autistic people have epilepsy, so the movie can cause seizures and is also very uncomfortable for those without it,” the author adds. “Sia has made it in such a way that a majority of us will be unable to watch it.”
The “Chandelier” hitmaker has also been criticized for casting dancer/actress Maddie Ziegler, the longtime star of her performance art videos, as a non-verbal autistic teen in the film.
“Actual autistic people were ignored in the casting process when Sia cast neurotypical Maddie Ziegler to play the autistic character, Music, because she ‘can’t do a project without her,’ ” the petition reads.
“To make things even worse, Ziegler learned how to ‘act autistic’ by watching videos of autistic children having meltdowns uploaded to YouTube by their parents without their consent.”
The petition’s writer also takes aim at director Sia’s response to the backlash from autism experts.
“When faced with justified critique, Sia decided to personally attack members of the community e.g. when she replied: ‘maybe you’re just a bad actor’ to one autistic individual who expressed their ability and willingness to act in her movie.”
“Furthermore, Sia claims to have researched autism for years, but the fact that she collaborated with Autism Speaks, easily identified as a eugenics-promoting hate group, is a testament to the severity of her lies. She refused to apologize and only did so after receiving the nominations out of fear of a boycott, which is exactly what we urge all of you to do.”
Sia has apologized following criticism of one scene, in which an autistic character is restrained, promising to attach a warning to the movie stating the film “in no way condones or recommends the use of restraint on autistic people.”
“Music” was released earlier this month (February) and was met with mostly negative reviews. Rotten Tomatoes editors noted the film has received worse reviews than movie flop “Cats“.