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Protest "Music," Sia's Golden Globe-Nominated, Ableist Film on Autism

Updated: Feb 27, 2021

The Golden Globes isn't having a good year. Actually, they haven't had a good reputation in quite some time. They're even bringing back fan-favorites Amy Phoeler and Tina Fey to host - and it won't be enough. This year, the awards show has come under fire after snubbing shows like "I May Destroy You" and "Bridgerton" in favor of critically-mocked "Emily In Paris." But wait, there's more!

The 2021 Golden Globes is also in the news getting panned for nominating Australian singer-songwriter Sia on her debut directorial feature "Music," a sensory-overloading musical film about a non-speaking autistic girl. "The fact that “Music” has been nominated for two Golden Globes awards illustrates the complete disregard the entire entertainment industry has for inclusivity and minority representation."

The character is played by Sia's long-time favorite young dancer Maddie Zeigler, a neurotypical white female who claimed she researched the role of the autistic character by watching meltdown videos. Quite the reductive breakdown, is it not? Additionally, the film highlights behavior alteration techniques, such as physical restraint: a technique to subdue autistic people which has caused multiple deaths. Using these types of physical restraints as behavioral interventions has not been recommended by the U.S. Department of Education or mental health professionals in years.

An online petition started by Nina Skov Jensen, and amplified by the autism community, describes the film as patronizing, exploitative, and genuinely harmful. The petition which has got over 97,000 signatures, states, “Sia's debut movie ‘Music’ is severely ableist and contributes to harmful stereotypes of autistic people. The Golden Globes must rescind its two nominations for “Best Musical/Comedy Picture” and “Best Musical/Comedy Actress: Kate Hudson” and the entertainment industry must promise to actively work towards inclusion and better disability representation.

Sia’s handling of the comments by disability activists so far has been insensitive, irresponsible, and invalidating. When faced with justified critique, Sia decided to personally attack members of the community e.g. when she replied: “maybe you’re just a bad actor” to one autistic individual who expressed their ability and willingness to act in her movie. Furthermore, Sia claims to have researched autism for years, but the fact that she collaborated with Autism Speaks, easily identified as a eugenics-promoting hate group, is a testament to the severity of her lies."

Beyond the fact that the film's harmful story, ableist production, so-called-research, and subsequent public relations, and beyond the fact that there is no meaningful involvement of anyone from the autism community, Music is also just a bad film.

Needless to say, this isn't a film you need to seek out or watch. It's not too late to add your signature to the tens of thousands who want to see Music's nomination rescinded. Sign the petition to demand that The Golden Globes Must Rescind the Nomination for Sia’s Ableist Movie “Music."


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