In a New York Times profile about the “My Life on the D-List” comedian published Wednesday, the paper spoke to the Australian singer and songwriter about their friendship.
Both Griffin and Sia have received public backlash in recent years, as the piece points out. Griffin was heavily criticized in 2017 after a joke she made about decapitating former President Donald Trump went sideways. The publication also noted that in 2021 Sia was widely condemned — especially by the disability community — about her directorial debut film, “Music.”
After describing the backlash she received for the film, Sia told the Times, “I was suicidal and relapsed and went to rehab” — seemingly in relation to the criticism she received.
Sia — who has been open about her PTSD diagnosis and having suicidal thoughts in the past — then said that Griffin helped her get through the experience. “She saved my life,” she said.
Sia also told the Times that Griffin invited her to dinner at a paparazzi-heavy restaurant in Hollywood last November, where the two could get photographed together and create some positive buzz.
Sia’s film, which she also co-wrote, centered around an autistic teenager. Shortly after the trailer for “Music” was released in November 2020, Twitter users were quick to express their concerns about the film. Criticisms from the autistic community and its advocates included unease about the movie’s messages about autism; the casting of Maddie Ziegler, who is not autistic, as an autistic nonverbal teen; and Sia’s decision to consult with the controversial organization Autism Speaks for the film. Sia did not respond well to backlash surrounding the trailer for her film, and lashed out at her critics on Twitter.
The situation worsened in February 2021, when a leaked clip from “Music” started making the rounds on social media. The scene featured a character using a dangerous type of restraint on Ziegler’s autistic character. The act is portrayed as commonplace and necessary in the film — though it has resulted in death in real life.
In response to outrage over the leaked footage, Sia tweeted that she would add a warning to the beginning of the film about the potentially fatal restraint. She also said she’d remove the scene from the movie. The singer then deleted her Twitter account.
According to a review of the film by Sara Luterman for Slate, the restraint scene was included in the version of the film that she watched. Luterman also noted there was an additional scene in the film in which a grown man “climbs on top of a panicking autistic teenager as though that is an ordinary and even desirable way to respond to a meltdown.”
If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.