Many commenters have taken issue with the casting, feeling that only autistic people should play the role of an autistic person, even noting that many autistic actors would have happily filled the role on short-notice. Music, a special-needs teen, uses a tech device to communicate and always wears headphones to listen to music, sees the world in a different way - bright colors and imaginative musical sequences, People reported.
Sara Gibbs, a British comedy writer with autism, a developmental condition that leads to anxiety in social situations, difficulty in communication, and atypical behaviour, explained why she was anxious about the film on the social media site.
Responding to criticism through a number of tweets, Sia has defended her casting.
In response to another person, Sia said she "tried working with a attractive young girl non-verbal on the spectrum and she found it unpleasant and stressful", which is why Ziegler was ultimately cast. One fan called it "offensive".
But fans didn't stop there.
Sia tried to explain that there were 13 cast members that were neuroatypical people and three trans actors as doctors, nurses, and singers in the movie and not as prostitutes and drug addicts. "My heart has always been in the right place".
On Twitter, #ActuallyAutistic is trending and many social media users have accused the singer of ableism, a definition used to describe discrimination against people with disabilities. "People with disabilities are not broken and don't need fixing", she said.
"I actually tried working with a attractive young girl non verbal on the spectrum and she found it unpleasant and stressful".
"I've never referred to music as disabled", Sia explained to one critic who asked why she didn't cast an autistic actor to play Music. She also added that Maddie's character is "based on a close friend" of hers and that she "had two people on the spectrum advising me at all times".
"I'm reading tweets from other disabled folks about the film saying that music is helps the girl to "escape" her autism, which is such a vile, ableist notion to convey", someone posted. F**kity f**k why don't you watch my film before you judge it?
"Music" stars Maddie Ziegler, Sia's longtime creative partner, as a girl named Music.
In a separate tweet, Sia wrote: "The movie is both a love letter to caregivers and to the autism community. It's very condescending to say it would be cruel to consult a disabled actor".
Another social media user wrote: "Several autistic actors, myself included".