Sia adds warning to controversial film 'Music' after complaints over restraint scenes

·Contributor
·2-min read

Watch: Sia promises content warning on film Music

Sia has added a content warning to the beginning of her film Music following controversy around the movie’s depiction of restraint techniques being used on an autistic teenager.

The film has proved divisive since it was first announced, with many upset at the decision to cast 18-year-old dancer Maddie Ziegler in the title role, rather than an actor who is on the autism spectrum.

In the wake of the movie’s unveiling, it has been further criticised for depicting the use of potentially dangerous prone restraint on Ziegler’s non-verbal title character.

Read more: NBCUniversal commits to auditioning disabled actors

Sia posted a series of messages to her Twitter account overnight, before deactivating her profile, in which the 45-year-old singer-songwriter revealed that a warning will be added to the movie.

Music in no way condones or recommends the use of restraint on autistic people,” it reads.

Maddie Ziegler plays the titular autistic teenager in 'Music'. (Credit: Hanway Films)
Maddie Ziegler plays the titular autistic teenager in 'Music'. (Credit: Hanway Films)

“There are autistic occupational therapists that specialize in sensory processing who can be consulted to explain safe ways to provide proprioceptive, deep-pressure feedback to help with meltdown safety.”

Sia wrote that she had “been listening” to the autistic community and said she was sorry, in tweets which were available for around an hour before her account was deactivated.

Read more: Warner Bros apologises to disability groups over The Witches

She added: “I plan to remove the restraint scenes from all future printings. I listened to the wrong people and that is my responsibility, my research was clearly not thorough enough, not wide enough.”

The discussion came just hours after Music secured two Golden Globe nominations, for Best Picture (Musical or Comedy) and for Kate Hudson — who plays Zu’s half-sister and guardian — in Best Actress (Musical or Comedy).

Maddie Ziegler and Sia attend the Grammy Awards in 2015. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Maddie Ziegler and Sia attend the Grammy Awards in 2015. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Music was released in Australia in January and has secured predominantly negative notices from critics, earning a 29% approval score on Rotten Tomatoes from its first seven reviews.

Autism campaigners have called for the movie’s release to be abandoned, with a petition to that effect earning just shy of 18,000 signatures.

Petition organiser Hannah Marshall wrote that the film is “extremely offensive to myself and other autistic individuals”.

Read more: Snubs and surprises from the Golden Globes

Sia has defended the casting of Ziegler, stating that she worked with a non-verbal girl initially, who found the experience of acting “unpleasant and stressful”.

Music is due to be released in the USA on 10 February, with a digital release in the UK due on 15 February.

Watch: Golden Globes snubs and surprises

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting