Why did Diane Sawyer defend shooting a young Britney Spears?
Hulu’s new documentary Framing Britney Spears brought to light a lot of abuse toward the pop star. In one instance, journalist Diane Sawyer brought Spears to tears in an interview. Now, people are criticizing Sawyer and asking her to apologize. Here’s everything we know about the 2003 event.
In 2003, in an interview on ABC News, Diane Sawyer aggressively criticized Britney Spears for her alleged treatment of Justin Timberlake. Sawyer said to Spears, who was twenty-two at the time: “You broke his heart, you did something that caused him so much pain, so much suffering. What did you do?”
When looking back on the breakup, however, it seems that Timberlake was the one who mistreated Spears, and not the other way around. Timberlake spoke badly of his ex in the press, and also released a music video that implied she had cheated on him.
But that wasn’t even the worst of the ABC News interview. At one point, Sawyer brought up the first lady of Maryland, Kendel Ehrlich who had claimed she would “shoot” Spears if given the opportunity. “Really”, said Ehrlich, “if I had an opportunity to shoot Britney Spears, I think I would.” Sawyer defended the comment, stating: “It’s because of the example for kids and how hard it is to be a parent.”
Spears responded to Ehrlich’s comment on the interview, calling it “horrible”. “That’s really sad that she said that”, she told Sawyer. “I’m not here to, you know, babysit her kids.”
Following the release of Framing Britney Spears, a lot of people have spoken out against her abusers. Duke Law Professor Robert DeNault tweeted: “Legal questions aside, it’s eye-opening. The documented societal treatment of this talented young woman was sick. Lots of people should come out and say what they regret. Looking at you, Justin Timberlake, Jay Leno, and Diane Sawyer.”
The sentiment was shared by many; one who wrote: “Haven’t watched the Britney doc yet, but just watched the entirety of the old Diane Sawyer interview. Absolutely disgusting. Misogyny executed by another woman. No wonder Britney seems so lost. We all betrayed her by allowing that narrative.”
Another Twitter user wrote: “Diane Sawyer owes Britney Spears a thousand apologies” while another pointed out: “If you’ve ever questioned sexism I’ll remind you that Donald Trump had the nuclear codes for four years and Britney Spears can’t use an ATM.”
Another person tweeted: “The world owes @britneyspears a massive apology. Watching everything unfold in 2007 was messed up enough, but understanding the extend of what she went through and is still going through is heartbreaking and concerning.”
Britney Spears’s conservatorship
Since 2008, Britney Spears has been under conservatorship, which means that she is not responsible for managing her own finances. Instead, her father, Jamie Spears holds control of all of her earnings.
According to documents that People Magazine obtained in August 2020, Spears is “strongly opposed” to her father being her conservator. Her attorney, Samuel D. Ingham III, wrote in a filing that “We are now at a point where the conservatorship must be changed substantially in order to reflect the major changes in her current lifestyle and her stated wishes.”
On November 4th, Spears filed a motion to have her father removed from the role of conservator, according to Us Weekly. Her lawyer wrote: “It is now obvious that any effort to create a viable working relationship between and among BRITNEY, BESSEMER TRUST and JAMES would be doomed to failure even without the added stress of litigating BRITNEY’S objection to the Account.”
But a week later, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny denied this request. She told CBS: “That’s the subject of another discussion down the road.”