Britney Spears Documentary Prompts Many To Re-Evaluate the Singer’s Reputation
- The New York Times documentary “Framing Britney Spears” dropped on Friday, focusing on the singer’s controversial conservatorship and the mistreatment she’s faced throughout her career.
- Now, people are expressing frustration over how the star was hyper-sexualized at a young age, harassed by photographers, and painted as “crazy” while she was clearly struggling with her mental health.
- Fellow pop star Justin Timberlake is also facing backlash, with many accusing him of weaponizing their breakup for his own success and creating opportunities for people to slut shame her.
“Framing Britney Spears” Comes Out
The new documentary “Framing Britney Spears” is prompting many to re-evaluate the way the pop star has been portrayed in the public eye.
The documentary, which came out on Friday as part of the “The New York Times Presents” series on Hulu, explores her controversial conservatorship under her father. It also focuses on her career and the relentless media attention she has faced for years.
While the singer struggled publicly with her mental health and intense fame, the world laughed and treated her as a punching bag. “Framing Britney Spears,” however, takes a much more sympathetic approach and paints her as a victim of a misogynistic media landscape that unfairly picked on, hyper sexualized, and exploited a young starlet.
Now, people are saying she deserved better.
Spears was still a child star when was when she was dealing with incessant questions about boys and dating. In interviews, much older men even asked her about her relationship status or made comments about her body to her face. As a teenager, the media also speculated heavily on her virginity. To give context for how crude this is, some pointed out that it all happened while Spears was around the same age TikTok star Charli D’Amelio is now: 16.
Others also looked at incidents that unfolded between her and the paparazzi, who were obsessed with her every move and regularly invaded her privacy, with a new perspective. Many people began saying they understood why she ended up attacking paparazzi with an umbrella, even insinuating they might have done the same.
Justin Timberlake Faces Backlash
“Framing Britney Spears” is also getting attention for the way it examines her relationship and breakup with singer Justin Timberlake. The documentary accuses Timberlake of weaponizing their public break up to make her look like the bad guy and further her already sexualized reputation.
“The way that people treated her, to be very high school about it, was like she was the school slut and he was the quarterback,” New York Times critic Wesley Morris said in the film.
People are now calling him out for this, claiming what he did was harmful and unfair and after all these years, he should issue an apology.
Many also brought up the time Timberlake exposed Janet Jackson’s breast during the 2004 Super Bowl as another example of him exploiting women and tarnishing their images while his reputation remained completely unharmed.
“Justin Timberlake’s career catapulted at the expense of two brilliant women in Pop music (Janet Jackson & Britney Spears) & to this day, he has yet to take ownership of his grotesque actions,” one person wrote.
Celebrities Speak Out For Britney Spears
Many celebrities have also spoken up about “Framing Britney Spears.” During her performance ahead of the Super Bowl, Miley Cyrus shouted her out while singing “Party in the USA.”
During a lyric that references Spears, Cyrus said “Hey, we love you Britney,” which many thought was her way of expressing support after the documentary.
Actress Sarah Jessica Parker also posted several #FreeBritney tweets.
Paramore singer Hayley Williams also reflected on the documentary and the suffering the media put Spears through.
“no artist today would have to endure the literal torture that media/society/utter misogynists inflicted upon her,” she wrote. “The mental health awareness conversation, culturally, could never be where it is without the awful price she has paid.”
See what others are saying: (Glamour) (Marie Claire) (Entertainment Tonight)
Max to Agrees to “Properly” Credit Writers and Directors After Facing Backlash For Lumping Them in As “Creators”
The company said the credits were laid out incorrectly due to “an oversight in the technical transition from HBO Max to Max.”
After film and television writers slammed Max for crediting all writers, producers, and directors as general “creators” on its platform, the company said it will be adjusting its credits display.
“We agree that the talent behind the content on Max deserve their work to be properly recognized,” the streaming service said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
Max — the new rebrand of HBO Max that incorporates Discovery content — launched on Tuesday to much criticism. Amid glitches and app-switching confusion, the biggest backlash it faced was over the choice to lump creative roles into one credit section called “creators.” As one viral tweet noted, if a user were to select the film “Raging Bull,” the service’s display would not specifically credit Martin Scorsese as the director, rather, his name would be included at random with half a dozen other people, including writers and producers.
The decision was condemned by many in the industry who argued it minimizes writers and directors by not properly giving them credit where it is due. Especially amid the ongoing writers’ strike, and with directors and actors starting negotiations with studios, some took it as a slap in the face.
“The studios don’t want anyone to know our names,” writer Christina Strain tweeted. “It’s easier to pay us nothing if we’re faceless.”
“Another move from studios to diminish the role of writers, directors, actors and other craftspeople. Miss me wit this nonsense,” Jorge Rivera, the Vice-Chair of the Writers Guild’s Latinx Writers Committee, added.
In a statement, Directors Guild President Lesli Linka Glatter said that Warner Bros. Discovery’s choice to “collapse” these roles into one credit “while we are in negotiations with them is a grave insult to our members and our union.”
“The DGA will not stand for it,” Glatter continued.
WGA West President Meredith Stiehm claimed the move was “a credits violation,” as well as an insult “to the artists that make the films and TV shows that make their corporation billions.”
On Wednesday, Max said it would rework its crediting.
“We will correct the credits, which were altered due to an oversight in the technical transition from HBO Max to Max and we apologize for this mistake,” the platform said.
See what others are saying: (Gizmodo) (The Hollywood Reporter) (The Los Angeles Times)
A Quarter of Young British Men Support Andrew Tate’s Thoughts on Women
U.K. residents at large, however, do not view him favorably.
Even under house arrest in Romania, misogynist influencer Andrew Tate still holds substantial sway over young men.
According to data from YouGov that was obtained by The Independent, 26% of U.K. men between 18 and 29 years old who know of Tate agree with his views on women. That figure was largely the same for men between 30 and 39, as 28% agreed with Tate’s opinions on the subject.
Men in their 30s were slightly more likely to agree with Tate on his thoughts about masculinity. Three out of ten supported those views, compared to just a quarter of men 18 to 29.
Those statistics only include the thoughts of men who have heard of Tate, but per YouGov, most have. In the 18 to 29 group, 93% were familiar with him, and 86% of men in their 30s knew of him.
The U.K. at large was less aware of Tate, with just 63% of British adults having heard of him. Of that group, only 6% held a positive view of him.
Tate has faced substantial backlash for his sexist rhetoric over the years. In the past, he said that men should have “authority” over their wives or girlfriends, and that women should “bear some responsibility” for being raped. He was previously banned from Twitter over his extremist views on women but has since been allowed back on the platform.
He is currently being investigated in Romania for organized crime and human trafficking. He was arrested and held in custody in December but was released to house arrest earlier this year. No formal charges have been filed against him yet and he has maintained his innocence.
Tate currently boasts a Twitter following of 6.7 million. It has grown significantly since he was enveloped in legal controversy, and many of his supporters have demanded his release.
See what others are saying: (The Independent) (Glamour U.K.)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Involved in “Near Catastrophic” Paparazzi Chase
“While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone’s safety,” a spokesperson for the couple said.
“Aggressive” Paparazzi Chase Couple in New York
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were involved in a “near catastrophic” paparazzi car chase Tuesday night in New York City, according to a spokesperson for the couple.
In a statement, the spokesperson described the photographers as “highly aggressive.”
“While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone’s safety,” the statement added.
“This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers,” it continued.
Details of the incident are still emerging, but BBC News reported that there are claims the chase involved roughly six cars driving recklessly by running red lights, driving on the sidewalk, carrying out blocking moves, going backward on a one-way road, and taking pictures while driving.
The chase happened after Harry and Meghan were leaving the Women of Vision Awards with Meghan’s mother, Doria. They did not want photographers to learn where they were staying and attempted to avoid them in what turned into a 75-minute chase on a main road in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. They eventually ducked into a New York Police Department Precinct to hide out before getting into a different vehicle.
The NYPD released a statement confirming that they assisted in protecting the couple as “numerous photographers” hindered their transport. Officials said they made it to their destination and there were no collisions, injuries, or arrests.
The couple’s spokesperson is asking the public to not share or post footage of the incident.
“Dissemination of these images, given the ways in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous to all in involved,” the spokesperson said.
Memories of Princess Diana
The chase evokes the brutal press hounding Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, was subjected to throughout her life. The paparazzi’s obsession with her ultimately resulted in her death in 1997, when she was killed in a car crash after being chased by photographers in Paris.
Since marrying Meghan and later bowing out of the Royal Family, Harry has made it explicitly clear that he fears those events could happen again. Meghan has been the subject of endless tabloid scrutiny, enduring racism and harassment from the press. Part of the reason they left the Royal Family was to keep their family protected from such attacks.
Mayor Eric Adams brought up Diana’s tragic passing while speaking about Tuesday night’s chase.
“I don’t think there’s many of us who don’t recall how [Harry’s] mom died,” Adams said while speaking to reporters. “And it would be horrific to lose an innocent bystander during a chase like this and something to have happened to them as well…I think that was a bit reckless and irresponsible.”
Adams also questioned whether or not he believes a chase could go on for two hours in a city as congested as New York, but noted that even a 10-minute chase would be dangerous. He said he will be briefed on the exact timeline and details later.