CONTENT WARNING: The following article discusses the use of prone restraint on people with autism
Sia’s directorial debut Music, which is set for release this month, has been nominated for a 2021 Golden Globe Award. It’s up for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and its star, Kate Hudson is nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.
Music had already seen some backlash over the casting of Maddie Ziegler. Now though, Sia has apologised for how Ziegler’s characters’ autism is depicted, and more specifically, for the depiction of restraint against her.
One scene in the film apparently shows Ziegler’s character held in prone restraint, a popularly-opposed practice in the autism community. It’s a controversial, traumatic, and in some cases, lethal practice.
A Twitter profile called The Autisticats posted a thread, explaining the dangers of prone restraint.
“This is an extremely hard thing for me to write about,” they tweeted. “But in Sia’s new movie, the autistic character Music is shown having several meltdowns and being held in prone restraint.”
“For those who don’t know, prone restraint is extremely dangerous. Just a few days ago, the story of a 16 year old autistic boy named Eric Parsa came up on the news.
“He died last year at the hands of police, by being held in prone restraint and sat on during a meltdown.”
Click through below to read the full thread.
CW: autistic meltdown, prone restraint, death
This is an extremely hard thing for me to write about.
But in Sia’s new movie, the autistic character Music is shown having several meltdowns and being held in prone restraint.
(Leaked video via Auteach on TikTok) pic.twitter.com/xn9082gCiK
— The Autisticats (@autisticats) January 20, 2021
Variety reports that Sia tweeted,”I promise, I have been listening. The motion picture MUSIC will, moving forward, have this warning at the head of the movie.
“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 w meltdown safety.”
She then tweeted, “I’m sorry.”
She added, “I plan to remove the restraint scenes from all future printings. I listened to the wrong people and that is my responsibility, my research was clearly not thorough enough, not wide enough.”
Sia deleted her Twitter account following the tweets.
The film had already received backlash, after Sia cast Maddie Ziegler as a girl with autism in the film. Fans were disappointed to see a neurotypical person cast as a character with autism.
Sia defended the choice at the time, saying she had tried but the set was too uncomfortable for the original actor. Fans argued that the point is to create an accessible place for the actor the work. You can find the full background story here.