Sia’s movie, “Music”, is endangering autistic lives


Beck Iannucci

CW: ableism, cursing

Sia is a musician that has become quite popular these past years. You may remember her from her song “chandelier” or “cheap thrills”.

Unfortunately, she didn’t stick to just music. Sia allegedly started working on this movie about three years ago. I say allegedly because clearly no research was done. So let’s debunk this.

I want to get into a few of the pit falls she fell into, but first we need to discuss the dangerous misinformation before we understand how it came to be. It’s very important that if you learned something incorrect through this movie you fix it.

Sia promotes restraining autistic people while they’re having a melt down. This should NEVER happen. While this movie has many more pieces of misinformation, this is by far the worst because it could kill someone.

To start with, the fact that she included Autism Speaks is a huge red flag. The first issue with this organization is that in the past they have claimed to “cure” autism. There are so many reasons why that’s wrong. By saying “cure” you’re insinuating that autistic people needed to be “fixed” and that they cannot live their lives as they are. It sets up unrealistic expectations for parents as well. Most parents don’t think about what they’d do if their kid has a disability. They don’t prepare ahead of time and being uneducated they’ll look to others for support. Meaning that Autism Speaks will give them unrealistic expectations for their kids. Though this is no longer on their website’s home page, it caused a lot of damage in the years that it was.

Autism Speaks used to also credit autism as the reason marriages fail. They also say that autism makes it a struggle to go anywhere without embarrassment. Wtf? Again they mention needing a cure as if autism is a deadly disease. And they say that autism robs you of your children. Hey, if you don’t want your kid anymore cuz they’re autistic you’re an a**hole. Why did you have kids in the first place if you won’t love them unconditionally. Shut the f*ck up. They say that love for their children will “fix it” but I think that’s ironic since they also want to claim that autism ruins marriages. Yeah, love will fix this but autism also takes away your capability to love your kid. Make up your goddamn mind! Which is it, you piece of sh*t?

Here’s the commercial of theirs that I pulled this from:

The puzzle piece logo is no longer used by autistic people because it implies that something is missing from them. Instead, neurodivergent people have started to use a rainbow infinity sign. Autism Speaks, however, still uses the puzzle piece on their website. This further shows that Autism Speaks is out of touch with the people in the community they continue to “support”.

Now let’s talk about how they use the donation money. In 2018, Autism Speaks used about 20% for fundrasing. 48% is awareness — which they’re not very good at. 27% is research, 4% random, and 1% goes to families. Let that sink in. Only 1% of your donations goes to families of autistic kids. In 2012 it was 4%. 4% is already low but that means that it’s been getting lower over the years. So why donate if your money isn’t going to families but rather paying for their sh*tty commercials and their paychecks?

They also have a team made up mostly of neurotypicals. This is probably why they don’t know how to represent the community they claim to support. They clearly aren’t taking feedback from anyone who is autistic. Hey, if you want to help a community, maybe ask them what they think the biggest issues are and what would be the most effective way to help.

Knowing all this it would be easy to pin all the blame on Autism Speaks. But you must remember that Sia worked with the organization, clearly without doing a background check or asking actually autistic people about their experiences (both with the organization and about their daily lives). She also cast a neurotypical actor to play the main character because she claims working with a neurodivergent actor was too difficult. This shows that she would have rather cast a neurotypical actor in the first place because she could have easily made accommodations. When someone is having difficulty — no matter who it is — you can change something so that they feel better. The studio was too stressful? Then record at home. Maybe the amount of people was stressful? Then you cut that down and give the person some space to breathe. There is always a way to fix a problem. Not to mention Sia insulting an autistic actor on Twitter.

Just because she’s mad that people are calling her out, doesn’t mean she gets to insult people on Twitter. She clearly has a bad attitude.

In conclusion, this movie sucks and so does everyone involved.