Vocal powerhouse Sia has come in once more to defend herself from those criticizing her choice to cast Maddie Ziegler rather than an actual autistic actor in her new film Music.
Speaking on Australia’s The Sunday Project, the Chandelier hit maker clarified that it was more of nepotism rather than “ableism” that led her to making the decision
The film will be featuring Ziegler as an autistic teen named Music, who ends up under the care of her drug-dealing half-sister Zu, who is played by Kate Hudson.
Ziegler’s casting had swept a wave of fury as many argued that Sia should have given the opportunity to someone who is actually on the autism spectrum.
“I realized it wasn’t ableism, I mean it is ableism I guess as well, but it’s actually nepotism because I can’t do a project without her. I don’t want to. I wouldn’t make art if it didn’t include her,” she explained.
Ziegler has been a major face in many of Sia’s works as she made multiple appearances in her music videos.
Speaking upon Ziegler’s first day on set, the singer revealed that the 18-year-old had a breakdown because she thought she was mocking autistic folks, however her performance was so spot-on that medical professionals gave her a full score.
“She cried on the first day of rehearsals, and she was really scared and said, ‘I don’t want anyone to think that I’m making fun of them’. I boldfaced said, ‘I won’t let that happen’,” she said.
“Last week I realized I couldn’t really protect her from that, which I thought I could. We sent it off to the Child Mind Institute, and she received 100% as performance accuracy. I realize that there are some things I can’t protect her from as much as I try.”