Here’s a look at our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by senior entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, register here.
Cry a river #FreeBritney
A disturbing revelation from Coaching Britney Spears, the recent FX and Hulu documentary that catapulted a fiery artillery with new rhetoric into the #FreeBritney movement, shows just how shit everyone has been for Britney Spears. It turns out that includes us.
There are bad guys to speak out about and rightly shame. But then, right next to them, chuckling in varying degrees of oblivion like a nation complicit in Igors, so is all of us.
There’s the industry mechanism that hyper-sexualized a teenage girl and the pearl-makers who disparaged her in response. And then there are the rest of us who participate in the back-and-forth debate with the thrill of watching Nadal and Federer in the US Open final.
There are the paparazzi who stalked her with every move, and the rest of us who looked at the photos.
There’s the media who practically celebrated her breakup and gleefully bullied her, and the rest of us who couldn’t get enough of these stories or laugh louder at those punchlines.
There are the family members, lawyers and managers who may be taking advantage of her under guardianship, and the rest of us who were a little suspicious of the arrangement … but were more than ‘happy to bury those concerns by drinking vodka soda at his residence and touring Vegas.
The #FreeBritney movement maintains that Spears is being forced against her will into the parameters of a legal guardianship that controls all aspects of her life. The documentary is a crucial summary of the ins and outs of Spears’ legal battles and the evidence that the #FreeBritney soldiers claim proves she should no longer be in wardship. But it’s also a living story from the life of Britney Spears – no small feat to be delivered in 70 minutes of operation – so as to put in context how she ended up in the Guardianship in the first place.
He’s the star of this eventful story that provides one of those snap-and-howl moments in which great accomplishments rush like an avalanche: God, Justin Timberlake was so fucked up with Britney Spears. But also…what are we thinking about?
Hell doesn’t have a fury like an army of despised fans, so the guns have blazed for Timberlake this week, building with intensity as more and more people watched Coaching Britney and seen his careful distillation of the way he used the media apparatus and the failure of our society to put misogyny to ruin Spears’ reputation and, in turn, elevate his career. Meanwhile, we were beatboxing on his silly song like dizzying accomplices.
Given that Coaching Britney Spears, due to his runtime, has to choose what dramas and scandals in Spears’ life to focus on, it is quite overwhelming that he chooses to shine the spotlight on Timberlake’s calculating and rude behavior after his breakup with Spears near from two decades ago.
Maybe you remember the 2002 bombshell video for Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River,” a revenge-breakup song that many people speculated that Spears was cheating on him, even before a double body. strange for her to be cast in the video. Or the ensuing tabloid covers brandishing the scandal in the headlines: “Britney & Justin: Did She Betray Him?”
“The way people treated her, to be very high school about it, was like she was the school bitch and he was the school quarterback,” says New York Times criticism Wesley Morris in the documentary. “He basically arms the video of one of his bachelors to incriminate him in the disappearance of their relationship.”
Timberlake’s press tour for his solo album seemed to revolve almost exclusively around his old relationship with Spears and the rumors he kept fueling, even while playing shyly. He was questioned by Barbara Walters for 10 minutes about his grief; Spears, meanwhile, was sorely grilled by Diane Sawyer for the way she [Timberlake] so much pain ”and then accused of being a bad role model.
The role model is an interesting concept in the context of this particular celebrity story because, while Spears was ashamed of a slut, Timberlake continued to talk about the relationship for years, when it was convenient to get attention. on his career.
Most shocking to see replayed in the documentary all these years later are the moments when he crudely discussed their sex lives. “Have you fucked Britney Spears?” he was asked in an interview. “OK, I did,” he replied, laughing hysterically. In another, he was asked to have “oral sex” with her. “I did. I’m dirty,” he said.
That’s pretty rude behavior then or now. The collective disgust of Spears fans after remembering it in the documentary just happens to be timed with what has become an annual tradition of Timberlake backlash. For the past few years, #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay has trended on social media every February to remind us of how she was sexually thrown under the bus and derailed her career following the infamous #NippleGate controversy on her show. Halftime Super Bowl with Timberlake.
There are parallels drawn between how Timberlake allowed Spears and Jackson to be vilified and punished by the media and the music industry as his own career progressed. After so much time, he still has not satisfactorily taken responsibility for his complicity in the way women were treated.
This is all fair. But looking at Coaching Britney Spears brought me back to how I – and, probably, all of us – behaved back then. When the “Cry Me a River” video came out and seemed to put Spears on the blast, I gasped with pleasure at the dirtiness of it all. When he revealed those tasteless details about their sex life in these interviews, I ate them up. I’m also a Britney fan as they come, and I always felt it! It was juicy!
We were, and in many cases, we are still gossiping, and we ate well. Of course, Timberlake hasn’t been held accountable yet because we haven’t held ourselves accountable yet. It is not an absolution for the way he behaved. It is also a condemnation of ourselves.
I think that’s at the heart of what the #FreeBritney movement is. It’s about justice for the people who deserve it, but it can be even more about tearing down harmful systems. It was time.
#Justin #Timberlake #fucked #Britney #Spears