Sia has said that she was suicidal from the controversy surrounding her film ‘Music’.
The Australian singer-songwriter made her directorial debut with the 2021 movie, which was criticised for having a non-autistic actress portray a nonverbal autistic teenager called Music, and for depicting scenes in which Music is restrained.
In a New York Times profile on US comedian Kathy Griffin, Sia said that Griffin “saved my life” during the period of the film’s backlash.
“I was suicidal and relapsed and went to rehab,” Sia said.
The singer has spoken previously about her drug and alcohol addiction. In 2018 she celebrated being eight years sober [via Self].
An online petition was launched in 2020 aiming to cancel the film, claiming that it contained “nauseating” stereotypes and harboured an “intolerance to neurodivergence”.
Sia apologised last February, announcing that a disclaimer would appear before future screenings. “I promise, have been listening,” she wrote, adding that her research “was clearly not thorough enough, not wide enough”.
The warning reads: “’Music’ in no way condones or recommends the use of restraint on autistic people. There are autistic occupational therapists that specialise in sensory processing who can be consulted to explain safe ways to provide proprioceptive, deep-pressure feedback to help w meltdown safety.”
Kade Hudson, who portrays Music’s older sister Zu in the move, also addressed the backlash.
Speaking to ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ that same month, Hudson said the criticisms of the movie were “an important conversation to have”.
“For me, when I hear that there’s anybody that feels left out, I feel terrible,” she said. “I think when people see the film they will see the amount of love and sensitivity that was put into it, but it is an important conversation to have – not just about this movie, but as a whole about representation.
“I think it’s an ongoing important dialogue to be had about neurotypical actors portraying neurodivergent characters, with people who are experts and really know how to engage in the conversation. I encourage it, really and truly. Just to say – we are listening,” Hudson said.
‘Music’ also courted controversy for being nominated for two Golden Globes last year: Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actress In A Motion Picture (Kate Hudson).
In other news, last October Sia reunited with Sean Paul for a new collaboration, ‘Dynamite’.
If you’ve been affected by the issues raised in this article, you can speak to somebody in confidence and free of charge by calling the Samaritans on 116 123 (UK and Ireland), emailing email@example.com, or visiting www.samaritans.org.