Uproar sparks in the autistic community

Samantha Grieb, Reporter

Uproar sparked in the autistic community after the release of Sia’s new movie, Music. With being labeled as a labelist and borderline racist movie, many people are upset and disappointed at the movie released by popular singer and songwriter, Sia. This does not come as a surprise as for months prior to the release of the movie, people were already up in arms due to the casting of Maddie Zeigler for the main character’s role: an autistic child, although Maddie herself is not autistic. 

The film is circled around a character named Zu, who is now the sole legal guardian of her new half-sister, Music. Music is a younger autistic woman who is unable to care for herself, something that many people are labeling Sia ableist for. Ableist is discrimination in favor of able-bodied people, and is commonly used against austistic people. 

Following Zu’s story, we see multiple unsettling scenes from Maddie, who is playing the character Music, that appear to over exaggerate and mock autistic people. 

The film also references racial stereotypes. From a character named Ebo who it is revealed is from Africa, has a thick accent. This is paired with the character Felix, whose parents speak in thick Asian accents and work at a laundromat, a very common stereotype for the Asian community. These two characters just seem to be pushed aside in the movie, and they do not seem to have crucial roles in the plot, except for Ebo who has contact with Zu quite a lot.

A popular Instagram account, AutistiCats, left a full review called “I watched Sia’s Music so you don’t have to.” The account is a blog account that is run by multiple austistic individuals. Prior to the release of the film, the account had made multiple posts explaining the uproar from the community and the disrespect that the movie was expected to show. However, the release of the movie seemed to be more disappointing to them than they had originally expected.

In a rather long review, the account had mentioned that, “But I wasn’t prepared for what I saw. As it turns out, Music is a perfect example of Murphy’s Law: everything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” The author of the blog post, Eden, continues to explain that they had become overstimulated from the movie, having autism themselves. The movie contains multiple visuals including bright, colorful, and flashing lights, all of which can be seen as harmful towards certain autistic individuals as many of them are epileptic. 

Currently, the movie even has a lower Rotten Tomatoes score than the playfully mocked movie, Cats. Currently, Sia has deleted her Twitter account in response to the backlash from the Twitter community. What will come out of the movie is unknown, but what we do know is that the autistic community is clearly displeased by the actions taken by Sia and her movie.