Oh wow, this whole Sia thing is so interesting and just highlights so many things. One of which is that when you are called out by a community, you DON’T mention your good intentions. You say ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’ and then you educate yourself. And —
It also shows how even though Sia says she did three years of research, she still managed to fuck up. And it sounds like she had people around her telling her that it would be best to use a non-autistic actor and probably not enough telling her to absofuckinglutely not do that —
Doing ANY project where there are other people and money involved is hell. I’m on a super low level of the entertainment industry compared to Sia and I’ve had to have VERY furiating arguments with ‘people at the top’ to make projects less problematic —
— and sometimes it’s just impossible. And you think, ‘well, is it better that a piece of work exists that’s 10% problematic in a world of 99% problematic pieces of work?’ and there is no truly right answer. I’m not saying that’s what happened with Sia —
— because we don’t know. She probably DID have the best of intentions and didn’t know better. And it must be devastating to put 3+ years into a project that you think will make people happy and then be told that it’s actually harmful —
— in the same way it’s fucking devastating being an autistic person seeing a nonautistic actor in that role and hearing Sia use harmful and ableist language when being called out. Why was it so hard for Sia to figure out, despite doing research for three years, —
— how not to be ableist? Is it because almost none of us know? Because all TV, education, society, representation is ableist as fuck? And not even organisations that claim to be for autistic people are legit? And how should she know how to react to being called out? —
— We don’t teach it. We hold everyone to wild standards. Everyone’s terrified of saying ‘I fucked up’ because we think it’ll make it worse. But actually, going on about your ‘good intentions’ is what makes it worse. —
It says a lot about our culture and how much it’s lacking. That no one at any point said, ‘Hey, this movie - let’s make absolutely sure it doesn’t harm anyone!’
That there isn’t an entire team hired to learn everything about ableism.
Or that —
— no one said to Sia, ‘Listen, hiring a nonautistic person to play an autistic person is the wrong thing to do, but since we can’t find anyone on short notice/we don’t have the budget/(whatever the excuse was), people will be very upset and they will call you out. Here’s —
— how you react and make amends once it’s out.’

What I’m saying is that there is a WAY to not be problematic and there are WAYS to fuck up and deal with your fuckup. And she has now fucked up at fucking up. —
It would have been so easy to just say ‘I know, I’m sorry, I tried but failed, I apologise to the community and I am so thankful for your feedback. I hope, if you choose to see the film, that you can still find some joy in it. I promise to do better in the future.’
It would be so refreshing. Anyways.
A good example of how to do it. 👇🏻 https://twitter.com/whoresofyore/status/1329869767101046784
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