Petition to rescind Golden Globe nominations for Sia's 'ableist' movie Music reaches 75,000

An online petition to cancel the two Golden Globe nominations awarded to singer Sia's movie Music is gathering steam amid accusations the film is "severely ableist and contributes to harmful stereotypes of autistic people". 

The petition was started by Rosanna Kataja, an "autism ally", along with Nina Skov Jensen, who is autistic. 

The pair assert that despite Sia's claims the film is a "love letter to the autism community", it's not made with them in mind. 

"The music segments are filled with strobing lights, colours, loud sounds and quick camera movements, which is very overstimulating," the petition's blurb reads. 

It claims that these factors could cause seizures in those who have epilepsy, which is more common in people with autism.

"Despite making the movie 'for' autistic people, Sia has made it in such a way that a majority of us will be unable to watch it," the blurb continues. 

Skov Jensen and Kataja are demanding Music be pulled out of the running Best Musical/Comedy Picture and that one of the film's stars, Kate Hudson, lose her nomination for Best Musical/Comedy Actress. 

"Actual autistic people were ignored in the casting process when Sia cast neurotypical Maddie Ziegler to play the autistic character, [called] Music because she 'can't do a project without" her,' the statement continues, referring to comments Sia made to The Project Australia in addressing the backlash to her casting choice. 

"That is not a valid reason to create a movie about autistic people without including autistic people in it." 

The petition is critical of Ziegler's portrayal of an autistic person, claiming the 18-year-old actress "stereotypically mimicked autistic people the exact same way autistic people have been bullied and mocked their entire lives". 

Sia also comes under fire for what the organisers say was "insensitive, irresponsible, and invalidating" handling of comments made by disability activists and members of the autism community who have spoken up about the film. 

Petition to rescind Golden Globe nominations for Sia's 'ableist' movie Music reaches 75,000
Photo credit: Getty, Atlantic Films

"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," the statement reads. 

Skov Jensen and Kataja go on to critique Sia's choice to include the "inhumane treatment" of physical restraint in the film, which they say has caused the death of autistic people due to Positional Asphyxia in some causes. 

"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 statement continues. 

"It will only use autism as inspiration porn to make neurotypicals feel good about their supposed 'superiority'."  

Along with rescinding the Golden Globe nominations, the petition demands audiences boycott the film, which they submit should be dropped from distribution. They also request the actors involved to apologise and distance themselves from the project. 

"Your silence is louder than you think," the statement concludes. 

Earlier this month, Sia deleted her Twitter account amid the controversy surrounding her film. The 'Chandelier' hitmaker apologised and said she "had been listening" to concerns, promising to include a warning about the use of restraint on autistic people and to remove the scenes featuring it 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," she said.