Maddie Ziegler: recent publications

I'm Sorry Sia Has Been Suicidal, but It Doesn't Erase the Harm She Caused to Autistic People

“Music” is a film written and produced by Sia that was released in February 2021. From the second previews began to air, the backlash started pouring in. The biggest controversy was the fact that Sia chose a neurotypical actor (Maddie Ziegler) to portray an autistic person. Many autistics, including me, wrote about our concerns online. Neurodivergent people need to be represented by neurodivergent people. Let’s just say that Sia did not handle her response to this valid criticism well.

Recently, Sia made a statement saying she felt suicidal and ended up in rehab after a relapse because of the extreme outrage over the movie.

First off, I want to make sure that I am respecting and not invalidating Sia’s struggle with suicidal thoughts.I myself have struggled with suicidal ideations for as long as I can remember. We can’t discredit Sia’s feelings and what she is going through. That being said, that is far more respect than Sia showed the autistic community.

I watched the movie and it was two hours of my life I am never going to get back. I don’t get offended easily, at least about autism. I often make jokes about myself, some that people might deem a little tasteless. You either laugh or cry about it, and while I do both, I prefer laughing. But from the second Maddie Ziegler danced onto the screen, I felt ice running through my blood. Her character, to me, felt like a very offensive caricature of autism. I had to mask through the movie because I felt self-conscious showing any autistic behavior. Every time she moved her head, twitched her fingers, or even had her mouth open, I felt like someone was making fun of me.

There was also the issue of restraint being shown as a technique to help calm down autistics. Restraining

people feelings suicide

Maddie Ziegler

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