The singer previously came under fire for defending the decision to cast Ziegler in the role.
Sia is standing by her controversial choice to cast dancer Maddie Ziegler as an autistic character in her new film, "Music," even though Ziegler herself isn't on the spectrum.
The 45-year-old singer was already hit with allegations of ableism -- or discrimination in favor of able-bodied people -- when the first trailer dropped in November 2020. Now, in an interview with Australia's The Sunday Prject, she's downplaying that criticism by saying Ziegler's casting is actually a case of nepotism.
"I realized 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," she said when asked about why Ziegler got the role, and not someone on the spectrum. "I don't want to. I wouldn't make art if it didn't include her."
That explanation is a little different from the one in the many, many tweets she fired off back in November, when the casting was first criticized. At the time, she claimed she "did try" to cast an autistic actor, but decided it "felt more compassionate to use Maddie." She also said "casting someone at [the character of Magic's] level of functioning was cruel, not kind, so I made the executive decision that we would do our best to lovingly represent the community."
In that same interview with The Sunday Project, Sia said Maddie did have concerns about playing the role of Magic and even broke down when they started working on the project.
"She cried on the first day of rehearsals and she was really scared and said, 'I don't want anyone to think that I'm making fun of them,'" said Sia. "I bold-facedly said, 'I won't let that happen.'"
"And last week I realized I couldn't really protect her from that, which I thought I could," she added. "We sent it off to the Child Mind Institute and she received 100% as performance accuracy. I realize that there are some things I can't protect her from, as much as I try. I guess that's like any mum or bonus mum would say."