Sia Defends Decision To Cast Maddie Ziegler As An Autistic Teen

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Sia has once again defended her decision to cast Dance Moms star Maddie Ziegler as an autistic teen in her movie debut, Music, after facing furious backlash for not using an actress with the disorder. 
The Chandelier singer, 45, appeared on Australian television program [ ], where she said she simply 'cannot make art' without the 18-year-old dancer.
Sia has frequently worked with Maddie in several of her music videos, and told host Lisa Wilkinson that she considers herself Maddie's 'bonus mum'. 
'I couldn't make art without her': Sia once again defended her decision to cast Dance Moms star Maddie Ziegler as an autistic teen in debut movie Music, on The Sunday Project (pictured), after facing backlash for not using an actress with the disorder
When asked about the claims of ableism over her decision to cast Maddie over an actor who is on the autism spectrum, Sia told Lisa that it's 'actually nepotism'.
'I realised it wasn't ableism, I mean it is ableism I guess as well, tour sapa but it's actually nepotism because I can't do a project without her,' the Australian singer explained.
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'I don't want to.

I wouldn't make art if it didn't include her,' she continued, going on to describe herself as like Maddie's 'bonus mum'. 
Sia wrote and directed Music, which centres around autistic teen Music, who, due to unforeseen circumstances, ends up in the care of her drug-dealer half-sister Zu, played by Kate Hudson. 
Longtime collaborator: When asked about the claims of ableism over her decision to cast Maddie (pictured), 18, over an actor who is on the autism spectrum, Sia told host Lisa Wilkinson that it's 'actually nepotism' 
Comments: 'I realised it wasn't ableism, I mean it is ableism I guess as well, but it's actually nepotism because I can't do a project without her,' the Australian singer, 45, explained.

Sia and Maddie are pictured together on tour sapa in Las Vegas in 2016 
Throughout the movie, the main characters take part in colourful dance sequences, which are intended to depict how Music views the world. 
This is not the first time Sia has addressed the claims of ableism, having previously explained that the character demanded an actor who could also dance at a professional level.
She also insisted that 'there is no way she could have used someone' with the fictional character's level of functioning to actually play her.  
'There is no way I could have used someone of [Music's] level of functioning to play her,' Sia told Angela Bishop on Australia's 10 News First program last month. 
Speaking out: This is not the first time Sia has defended her decision to cast Maddie in the role.

The songwriter told Angela Bishop on Australia's 10 News First program last month that the character demanded an actor who could also dance at a professional level 
Clapback: Sia insisted that 'there is no way she could have used someone' with the fictional character's level of functioning to actually play her, because she needed an actor and dancer
'I also needed a dancer, for [the character's] imaginary life.'  
Speaking about her controversial casting decision, Sia insisted that the movie 'is not a documentary', and pointed out that all three of the main actors in the musical are playing fictional roles - calling attention to the fact that she didn't cast a drug dealer in Kate's place, nor did she cast someone from Ghana in the part of Ghanaian neighbour Ebo.  
'It's not a documentary.

Kate isn't a drug dealer and Leslie Odom Jr. [who plays Ebo] isn't from Ghana,' she said. 
Co-star: Sia added that the movie 'is not a documentary', pointing out that Kate Hudson (pictured left and right) is not a drug dealer in real life, despite her playing one in Music 
Collaborator: Sia also wrote the music for the movie's soundtrack, which features her hit Together.

In May 2020, Maddie starred in the music video for the song