Sia’s ‘Music’ angers the autism community: ‘I don’t even know where to start’

Written by on February 16, 2021

Sia's new movie "Music," now streaming, has outraged the autism community.
Merrick Morton

Sia‘s new movie “Music” has outraged the autism community, for both the casting of a neurotypical actress in the role of an autistic character as well as for showing scenes where the character is being restrained. And the criticisms don’t end there.

In the film (now streaming), Music (played by Maddie Ziegler) is a young autistic woman who falls under the care of her half-sister Zu (Kate Hudson) after her grandmother dies (Mary Kay Place). Zu learns all about Music’s daily routine with the help of Music’s neighbor Ebo (Leslie Odom Jr.) – and the movie becomes more problematic from there, according to advocates.

“I don’t even know where to start,” Camille Proctor, executive director and founder of The Color of Autism Foundation, told USA TODAY. She started her organization in 2009 shortly after son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. “I don’t like the portrayal of the young autistic woman. I feel like (Ziegler) was doing parody.”

The movie depicts Music being restrained as a means to calm her down – something the community has condemned.

“The autistic community has been fighting for decades to end the use of restraints that traumatize and kill,” said Zoe Gross, director of advocacy at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, in a statement. “Had the filmmakers chosen to meaningfully involve autistic people from the beginning, we could have told them how catastrophically irresponsible it is to encourage viewers to use the kind of deadly restraints that killed Max Benson, Eric Parsa, and many other members of our community.”

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