One of the most polarizing topics in our society right now would have to be cancel culture, as many argue it’s starting to become a social norm when it comes to celebrities. Famous pop star Sia, who you might know from her exaggerated blonde and black hairstyle that she uses to hide her face, experienced it last year. This happened when the singer was under fire for her directorial debut Music, a musical drama about the coming of age of a young autistic girl. The pop star-turned-director revealed that the reaction from viewers led her to relapse.
In a recent article for , Sia was recently quoted in a The New York Times centered on comedian Kathy Griffin. In the long piece, while explaining that Griffin helped her through the backlash of the music, she revealed how much it affected her:
The backlash came specifically from those within the autism community, who believed Music be harmful, rather than helpful in themselves portrayal in film and pop culture. Based on past comments from the director and her cast, the intent behind the film was to improve the portrayal of people with autism.
Critics of the film were less than happy with more than one issue regarding its production. One of those issues was that the lead actress wasn’t on the autism spectrum, and another was that she missed him. neurodiversity in the making of the project. Those who challenge the film argue that representation means little if the community the film tries to represent does not include individuals who live with the experience in front of or behind the camera.
Apparently, Music originally cast an autistic actor in the lead role, but later recast a neurotypical actress instead after the original actress found the production too stressful. Community members feel that the recasting of a neurotypical actress instead sends the message that autistic actors are tough hires, which is not only an unwelcome generalization for people on the spectrum, but also hurts autistic actors.
The film also has a scene in which the main character is restrained in a practice called prone restraint, which is known to lead to injury or death. Since the backlash, the scene has been pulled from all future prints of the film. Sia spoke out in that she did extensive research for the film, but also publicly commented on the matter. She said more work could have been done to make the film a more accurate depiction of the autistic experience and that she didn’t mean to mean any ill intent towards the autistic community.
Music ended on the list of nominees for the Golden Globes last year, a decision heavily criticized. At present, the film is the only theatrical feature Sia has directed.