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After Second Wave of Movie Criticism, Sia Quits Twitter

Singer-director first apologized to autism community over criticism of 'Music'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2021 6:42 AM CST

(Newser) – Controversy over pop star Sia's directorial debut came to a head Tuesday as Music was nominated for two Golden Globes, including best musical or comedy. Hours later, Sia apologized to the autism community, which has been openly critical of the film's portrayal of the titular nonverbal autistic character by a neurotypical actress, per Variety. "I promise, have been listening," Sia tweeted, saying scenes showing physical restraint would be removed from public screenings and a warning about the use of restraints would be added to the film, out in select theaters on Feb. 10. "Music in no way condones or recommends the use of restraint on autistic people," Sia quoted from the warning. "I listened to the wrong people and that is my responsibility, my research was clearly not thorough enough, not wide enough," she continued, adding "I'm sorry." She then deleted her Twitter account.

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The nominations reignited criticism that erupted with the release of a trailer in November. Many people objected to the casting of Maddie Ziegler, Sia's longtime collaborator. Her performance "is the standout disaster, serving us 'Autism' the Rain Man way, all tics and whooping," writes Guardian critic Clem Bastow, who is autistic. She notes one scene shows a man restraining Music with his body—an act that has actually killed children. Others faulted Sia for balking at the term "disabled" and instead describing Music as having "special abilities." As one commenter noted, per Teen Vogue, "'Special abilities' is downright patronizing. We're not children or Xmen." Sia defended her choices late last year, saying a nonverbal actress "on the spectrum" had initially found the role "unpleasant and stressful," per Yahoo. She added she had the best of intentions in showcasing an "underrepresented" community. (Read more movies stories.)

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