Pop Singer-songwriter Sia is well-known for hit songs such as Chandelier and Cheap Thrills. She has been vocal about her wanting to protect her privacy, and she often wears wigs that cover most of her face. She has also repeatedly recasted Dance Mom’s Maddie Ziegler in her music videos.
Sia’s trailer for her upcoming film Music was released on Thursday and has been receiving backlash due to the fact that Maddie Ziegler has been cast as the main lead. Ziegler will play a young girl named Music with nonverbal autism. Ziegler does not have autism, and many fans and activists in the autistic community were offended that a girl with autism was not cast as the lead.
According to The La Times , Irish actress Bronagh Waugh, known for films such as Unforgotten tweeted Sia: “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.” Sia responded to Waugh, saying: “I agree. I’ve never referred to [the character 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.” The film has a star-studded cast, including Kate Hudson who plays Music’s half-sister Zu and Leslie Odom Jr. her friend Ebo. The film is set to come out January 2021.