Britney Film Puts Timberlake, Diane Sawyer in Hot Seat

Not many people come out looking good in 'Framing Britney Spears,' airing on FX and Hulu
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2021 7:33 AM CST

As the saga continues to swirl around Britney Spears' conservatorship and the #FreeBritney movement that seeks to yank her out from under the control of said conservator (her dad, Jamie), a new documentary on the 39-year-old singer sheds some light on how things got to this place—and has raised the public's ire with two big names in particular. CNN reports that Framing Britney Spears, part of "The New York Times Presents" series airing on FX and Hulu, takes a look back at Spears' career, with a spotlight specifically on the sexism and misogyny she's endured throughout, including on how sexualized she was even as a young pop star. The film doesn't make the media—including the paparazzi and late-night hosts who made fun of her—look good, with one photographer shown in the film confessing, "Everyone wanted a piece of Britney." One media figure the film focuses on: Diane Sawyer, who interviewed Spears in 2003.

In the interview, Sawyer quoted Maryland's then-first lady as saying she wished she could "shoot Britney Spears." Per the Washington Post, when Spears showed distress at that, Sawyer "[appeared] to defend" the remark, noting: "Because of the example for kids, and how hard it is to be a parent." Sawyer also pressed Spears on her breakup with Justin Timberlake in 2002, allegedly caused by Spears' infidelity. "You broke his heart, you did something that caused him so much pain, so much suffering," Sawyer said to Spears, who told Sawyer she felt "exploited" after Timberlake, in a radio interview, laughed and bragged about having slept with her. "When he had the chance to change a formative narrative that demonized Spears and exonerated him, he chose to embrace it instead," Jezebel notes. Fans are now rallying to Spears' defense (Marie Claire rounds up reaction) and demanding an apology from Timberlake, per Yahoo. Here, the documentary trailer. (More Britney Spears stories.)

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