Sia revealed in a new interview that she considered suicide after critics said her Music movie was harmful to the autistic community. Critics and autistic actors slammed the film after dancer Maddie Ziegler was cast as a nonverbal girl on the spectrum.
Speaking to the New York Times, Sia admitted the controversy had an alarming effect on her mental health, revealing, “I was suicidal and relapsed and went to rehab.” The interview was conducted by comedian Kathy Griffin, whom Sia credited for “[saving] my life” for helping her generate positive buzz after the intense backlash.
The Australian singer previously revealed that Ziegler was not her first choice for the role and that she “actually tried working with a beautiful young girl nonverbal on the spectrum,” but that actress withdrew from the project because she “found it unpleasant and stressful.”
Sia also said the character in question was “based completely on my neuro-atypical friend… I made this movie with nothing but love for him and his mother.”
Despite her seemingly good intentions, Music hit a sour note with the autistic community and its advocates. Actress Ashley Wool, who is on the spectrum, said the movie was “doing active harm to people.” Others condemned Music for not being inclusive and claimed it depicted those with autism as infants.
Sia previously apologized for the controversy and said she had “been listening” to concerns. After the film received two Golden Globe nods, she added a disclaimer to the film that said, “MUSIC in no way condones or recommends the use of restraint on autistic people. 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.”
She later redacted the scenes in question.
If you are in crisis or know someone in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. You can reach Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 (U.S.) or 877-330-6366 (Canada) and The Trevor Project at 866-488-7386.
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