Following the outrage she received from her controversial film “Music,” Sia is stepping out and revealing that she was suicidal.
Sia revealed in an interview with The New York Times that she was suicidal and had to go to treatment as a result of the negative feedback she received for her directorial debut, Music. Sia was interviewed as part of a piece on Kathy Griffin, a comedian. Kathy assisted her in coping with the unfavourable reviews once the film was out, she said.
“I was suicidal and repleased and went to rehab,” Sia stated. Kathy was then credited for saving her life. Sia’s decision to hire former “Dance Moms” star Maddie Ziegler in the lead role as a nonverbal, autistic girl dubbed Music Gamble sparked the entire debate surrounding the film.
Maddie and Sia had previously collaborated on the music video projects “Chandelier” and “Elastic Hearts” by Sia. Many people of the autistic community were angered by Maddie’s casting and how the film portrayed autism in general because she is neurotypical. There were even petitions who demanded that the film be cancelled.
Nonetheless, the film was released in theatres last year and garnered even more negative press after receiving two Golden Globe nominations in 20-21. Sia justified Maddie’s casting before the film’s release, telling Australia’s 10 News First that she “tried working with a lovely young lady nonverbal on the spectrum.”
Sia, on the other hand, described the experience as “unpleasant and stressful” due to the role’s high demands. Because the character includes a lot of intricate dance sequences, Sia thought Maddie would be ideal for the part. Finally, Sia admitted to the Australian TV show “The Sunday Project” that the decision to cast Maddie was motivated by nepotism rather than ableism. “She stated,” she said “It wasn’t ableism, I realised. I suppose it’s ableism, but it’s really nepotism because I can’t complete a project without her. I’m not interested in doing so. I wouldn’t do art if she wasn’t present.” Surprisingly, one of Sia’s neurotypical pals inspired the character Music Gamble. “Being nonverbal was too stressful for him,” Sia explained, “and I made this movie with nothing but love for him and his mother.”
Regardless of Sia’s motivations for making the video, a large number of people objected to Maddie’s character being physically confined in order to keep her calm. “The motion picture ‘Music’ will, moving forward, contain this warning at the top of the movie: ‘Music in no way condones or supports the use of restraint on autistic persons,” Sia tweeted in response to the criticism. There are sensory processing autistic occupational therapists that can demonstrate safe ways to deliver proprioceptive, deep-pressure input to help with meltdown safety.”
In February 20-21, Sia appeared to cancel her Twitter account in the wake of the uproar. According to USA Today, Sia and the film’s director responded to the outrage by announcing that portions in which Maddie’s character is held back will be removed “from all future printings.” Regardless of how divisive the film is, one thing is certain: it has sparked vital discussions about ableism, disability rights, and depicting and casting individuals with autism correctly.
(Image Source: Vanity Fair, US Weekly)