- The New York Times documentary “Framing Britney Spears” premiered on Friday.
- The documentary resurfaces Diane Sawyer’s 2003 “Primetime Thursday” interview with the pop star.
- Fans called the journalist’s questions “disgusting” and demanded that she apologise to Spears.
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The episode, available to watch on FX and Hulu, demonstrates examples of sexism directed at the singer throughout her life, following Spears from her days on “The Mickey Mouse Club” to her ongoing court-sanctioned conservatorship.
The documentary also included a portion of Spears’ interview with Sawyer on ABC’s “Primetime Thursday,” which stood out to viewers.
The singer, who was 21 at the time, fielded questions about her ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake and their breakup in 2002.
“He has gone on television and pretty much said you broke his heart. You did something that caused him so much pain, so much suffering. What did you do?” Sawyer asked Spears.
The “Everytime” singer replied, “Everyone has a side of their story to make them feel a certain wayâ€¦ and I’m not technically saying he’s wrong, but I’m not technically saying he’s right either.”
Later in the interview, the journalist told the pop star that she “upset a lot of mothers in this country.”
Sawyer drew attention to Kendel Ehrlich, the then-governor of Maryland’s wife, who said she would “shoot Britney Spears” if she had the opportunity.
Spears responded by saying that the statement was “horrible” and “really bad,” while Sawyer seemingly defended Ehlrich’s comment, explaining that her words were a result of the “example for kids and how hard it is to be a parent.”
Sawyer also said that Spears had a year that would “test a lot of people,” which led the singer to cry and ask to stop the interview.
Though only a limited portion of Sawyer’s interview with Spears is shown in the documentary, the full segment is available to watch online.
Representatives for Sawyer did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Viewers were taken aback by the ‘casual misogyny’ in the 2003 interview
Sawyer’s questions, which seemed to blame Spears for her and Timberlake’s breakup and paint her as a negative role model for young fans, enraged many “Framing Britney Spears” viewers.
One person called the interview a “disturbing look at the casual misogyny” of the early 2000s.
The @nytimes Britney doc is a disturbing look at the casual misogyny of late 90s, early 00s news and entertainment that we were served. The Diane Sawyer/Primetime segment is particularly gross, but a part of the ecosystem that existed and persists.
— Christopher Lehman ???? (@iChrisLehman) February 6, 2021
Another said that Sawyer’s behaviour was an “absolutely disgusting” example of “misogyny executed by another woman.”
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.
— Gracie Lou Freebush (@chcachrycola) February 8, 2021
Many people were stunned by Sawyer’s comments about Ehlrich and said there should be a continued conversation about the lack of consequences for the woman’s violent statement.
There’s lots to discuss in this Britney Spears doc, but feels like much more time needs to be devoted to the part where a politician’s wife says Britney should be SHOT for the way she dresses and respected journalist Diane Sawyer is like “well, she’s a concerned mother” ????
— Angela Spera (@speradactyl) February 7, 2021
I think the most surprising moments for me in the Britney doc were the Diane Sawyer interview, and finding out that a politician's wife publicly said she would "shoot Britney Spears if she could" for her crime of….having a visible belly button?
— sighorny beaver (postpartum content only) (@merrydevo) February 8, 2021
Diane Sawyer asked Britney Spears what she did to cause Justin pain, then told her the Governor of Maryland’s wife wanted to shoot her, implying it’s Britney’s fault because she’s a bad role model to kids. I don’t care how long has passed-Diane Sawyer should be ashamed of herself
— Bryan Behar (@bryanbehar) February 9, 2021
Sawyer hasn’t responded to the backlash, but fans have demanded she apologise to the singer for how she treated her in the 2003 interview.
Diane Sawyer owes Britney Spears a thousand apologies
— Rebecca???? (@rebeccadxvis) February 8, 2021
— Farah Galfond (@Farah_Galfond) February 6, 2021
We want a public apology to Britney Spears @dianesawyer it was supposed to be an interview not a witch hunt
— Shane (@shane88campbell) February 7, 2021
‘The Talk’ cohost Amanda Kloots also said Sawyer owes Spears an apology
On Monday, Kloots said that it was “heartbreaking” to watch the way interviewers treated Spears in the old clips.
Acknowledging that she was basing her opinion on the segments shown on-screen, she said that many of the interactions wouldn’t be able to happen today.
“I think that Diane Sawyer does owe her an apology. I think the whole world owes her an apology. The paparazzi owe her an apology,” she said on the show.
Other celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Andy Cohen have vocalized their support for Spears after The New York Times released the documentary.
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