‘Sorry, Britney’: Media Is Criticized for Past Coverage, and Some Own Up

‘Sorry, Britney’: Media Is Criticized for Past Coverage, and Some Own Up

‘Sorry, Britney’: Media Is Criticized for Past Coverage, and Some Own Up

‘Sorry, Britney’: Media Is Criticized for Past Coverage, and Some Own Up

Some are now asking for direct apologies from people who made jokes at Spears’s expense or interviewed her in ways now viewed as insensitive, sexist or simply unfair. On social media, there have been calls for apologies from prominent media figures, including Diane Sawyer, who, in a 2003 interview grilled Spears on what she might have done to upset her ex, Justin Timberlake; Matt Lauer, who pointed to questions about whether she was a “bad mom”; and the comedian Sarah Silverman, who made off-color jokes about Spears at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards.

These demands are encapsulated in another phrase spreading on social media: “Apologize to Britney.”

Silverman, who had joked on MTV that Spears’s children were “the most adorable mistakes,” did just that on an episode of her podcast that was released on Thursday, saying that, at the time, she had not understood that big-time celebrities could have their feelings hurt.

“Britney, I am so sorry. I feel terribly if I hurt you,” Silverman said. “I could say I was just doing my job but that feels very Nuremberg Trial-y, and I am responsible for what comes out of my mouth.”

The new documentary, “Framing Britney Spears,” which premiered on Hulu and FX last Friday, traces the origins of Spears’s conservatorship, the legal arrangement that has mandated that other individuals — primarily her father — have had control over her personal life and finances for the past 13 years, following her 2008 hospitalization after a three-hour standoff involving her two toddler sons and her ex-husband Kevin Federline.

It wasn’t just the paparazzi and the tabloids that reported — sometimes breathlessly — on Spears’s marriages, children, substance abuse issues and mental health challenges: So did The New York Times, as well as other newspapers, television news outlets and late-night comedy programs. Even the game show “Family Feud” found a way to work Spears in, asking contestants to list things that she had lost in the past year (“her hair,” “her husband”).

In an interview, Samantha Barry, the editor in chief of Glamour, said of society’s treatment of Spears, “Hopefully we’re in a place where we won’t do that again, where we won’t lift up these celebrities — in particular women — and then proceed to rip them down.”




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