Sia defends casting Maddie Ziegler as autistic teen in new movie

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Australian singer-songwriter Sia has come under fire for casting Maddie Ziegler as an autistic teen in her new movie.

The 44-year-old makes her directorial debut with the movie Music starring the dancer, Kate Hudson and Leslie Odom. On Thursday the first trailer for the movie was released which sparked backlash accusing the Cheap Thrills singer of ableism.

Autism advocacy groups and social media users questioned why Sia did not use an actor on the spectrum for the role.

Sia responded to numerous people on Twitter. To one she wrote: "I actually tried working with a beautiful young girl non-verbal on the spectrum, and she found it unpleasant and stressful. So that's why I cast Maddie."

Compiled by Leandra Engelbrecht

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