Sia has apologized for some depictions of autism in her directorial feature film debut Music after the movie snagged two Golden Globe nominations — specifically the depiction of the restraint of an autistic character.
The film has raised controversy for casting neurotypical actress Maddie Ziegler as a nonverbal autistic woman who constantly listens to music through her headphones. Disability activists took issue with one scene in particular, in which Ziegler’s character is shown being held in a prone restraint, a highly controversial, traumatic, and sometimes lethal practice that is largely opposed within the autism community. An online petition calling for Music to be canceled has nearly 18,000 signatures.
CW: autistic meltdown, prone restraint, death
This is an extremely hard thing for me to write about.
But in Sia’s new movie, the autistic character Music is shown having several meltdowns and being held in prone restraint.
(Leaked video via Auteach on TikTok) pic.twitter.com/xn9082gCiK
— The Autisticats (@autisticats) January 20, 2021
The Australian recording artist tweeted several apologies, promising to remove the restraint scenes from the film and saying that it would be updated with a warning before deleting her Twitter account altogether.
“I’m sorry,” she simply said in one post. In another, she added, “I plan to remove the restraint scenes from all future printings. I listened to the wrong people and that is my responsibility, my research was clearly not thorough enough, not wide enough.”
She added that the film’s warning would read: “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 [sic] meltdown safety.”
Music picked up a nomination for Best Picture (Comedy/Musical), while Kate Hudson was also nominated for Lead Actress in a Comedy or Musical.