Pop star Britney Spears has found herself in hot water with British officials following a music video shoot that had the singer brandishing a fake gun in a London street. Spears, who was shooting the companion video to her new single "Criminal", has been accused on insensitivity in the wake of the country's devastating August riots, which caused millions in property damage and resulted in the deaths of five people.
"I think she should apologize and make a sizeable donation to a Hackney charity that deals with young people, in compensation for the rudeness and damage that she's done to our community," said borough Councilor Ian Rathbone on the ITV news program "London Tonight."
"It is only a music video, but it's images like this, with pop stars glamorizing gangs, which means that some young people ... get drawn in," added Hackney's Member of Parliament, Diane Abbott. "Britney should really know better."
Britney should really know better. As in Britney Spears. Now that's funny.
The scene in question, according to MTV, had Britney and real-life fiancee Jason Trawick exiting a building in the Hackney borough of London while brandishing a mock firearm. Hackney was one of the London neighborhoods most affected by the riots, which broke out following the fatal shooting death of 29-year-old Mark Duggan by police.
Said Britney's representative to CNN: "The video is a fantasy story featuring Britney's boyfriend, Jason Trawick, which literally plays out the lyrics of a song written 3 years before the riots ever happened."
In all honesty, the response of these officials feels rather excessive. While the production was clearly insensitive, to accuse Spears of promoting gun violence because she brandished a fake pistol for a music video seems like a case of overreach.
What do you think?
Everything: Britney Spears
Latest news, photos, reviews, interviews, videos and more.