Sia has responded to a newspaper column questioning the ethics of her collaborations with dancer Maddie Ziegler.
Ziegler, 15, has appeared in six of the singer’s videos, beginning with 2014’s ‘Chandelier’. From 2011 to 2016, Ziegler appeared in the US reality show Dance Moms.
In early 2015 Sia apologised for her ‘Elastic Heart’ video, which shows Ziegler, then 12, and 28-year-old Shia LaBeouf dancing intimately in a cage together. Both performers wear only nude underwear in the video, which led to accusations that Sia had inadvertently sexualised the young performer.
Now The Guardian’s Bonnie Malkin has written an opinion piece titled ‘The Sia conundrum: if fame is so damaging, why pass it on to a child?’
Malkin called into question the staging of Sia’s latest tour after watching her perform in Sydney. On stage, Sia’s face is hidden behind her trademark wig, which places more focus on Ziegler, who joins her on stage to perform dance routines.
“Up on the stage in Sydney on Saturday, with Furler concealed and Maddie in the spotlight, it seemed that the superstar was deploying a child in a way that she herself refuses to be,” Malkin wrote.
After acknowledging that Zieger “is not afraid of fame” and cultivates a large social media following, the writer added: “In this case, the grown-up who has seen what fame can do and fears it has, perhaps unwittingly, handed it over to the child instead.”
Sia has now responded to the column on Twitter.
This article poses a question I have asked myself often. I do check in with Maddie weekly about whether she wants this, and assure her if she ever wants it to stop it stops. It's a conversation we should all be having. Not just myself but all directors, stage parents and agents.
— sia (@Sia) December 6, 2017
“This article poses a question I have asked myself often,” she wrote. “I do check in with Maddie weekly about whether she wants this, and assure her if she ever wants it to stop it stops. It’s a conversation we should all be having. Not just myself but all directors, stage parents and agents.”
She continued: “With their children, clients, charges. Maddie was already famous when I discovered her, but I have certainly expanded her exposure and feel responsible for that. I feel very protective of her and my goal is to empower her in whatever choices she makes. Some would argue a teenager can’t or shouldn’t be charged with making sound choices for themselves and so I do try to choose the best for her always. But I think this is an important conversation.”
Sia also made the headlines last week when it emerged she had driven for 13 hours to make her Sydney gig after her flight was cancelled.
She released her festive album ‘Everyday Is Christmas’ on November 17.