Uh-oh, y'all. Britney Spears did it again—namely, caused the otherwise stiff upper lip of some Brits to crinkle into a frown over some purportedly uncool behavior.
So what did our Brit-Brit do over in fair Londontown? And why are the authorities demanding an apology and substantial donation to make amends?
Well, last week, some fun but otherwise harmless paparazzi shots of Britney and her beau Jason Trawick on the set of her new music video "Criminal" surfaced, showing the couple getting their Bonnie and Clyde on, running from a convenience store with Britney brandishing a fake gun after they pretended to rob it. You know, for the purposes of an entertaining music video.
Well, guess who was none too entertained?
Local politicals on the Hackney Council (the area of London where the shoot took place) have come out—their own figurative guns a-blazing over the shoot—criticizing Spears and demanding an apology for her seeming insensitivity for waving around a fake pistol in the very area that was so devastated by the London riots this summer.
"I think she should apologize and make a sizable donation to a Hackney charity that deals with young people…for the rudeness and damage she's done to this community," city councilor Ian Rathbone told ITV's news show London Tonight.
And despite the fact that the city council approved the shoot in the first place—thus allowing "Criminal" to be filmed in the area at all—they say that they never gave the OK for a fake pistol to be used in the shoot. Though, in fairness, Team Spears probably never thought to ask.
Plus, one listen to the lyrics would probably have tipped them off: "Mama, I'm in love with a criminal…He is a sucker with a gun, gun, gun, gun."
"In this case, we did not agree that a replica gun could be used at Stoke Newington Town Hall and we are disappointed…We will be raising this matter with the production company."
Meanwhile, when asked if the Hackney government was perhaps overreacting to the situation, the local M.P. Diane Abbott held firm.
"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. Britney should really know better."
Or perhaps the city council should know better—like the difference between fiction and real life?
Of course, it's not just the recent riots that have made officials in the area sensitive to the gun play. A large portion of the 2012 London Olympics will be held in Hackney, and, a year out, they are becoming particularly sensitive to the depiction and imagery associated with the area—particularly as it has suffered from gang and gun violence in the past.
Meanwhile, they also likely don't want to be seen as giving special treatment to Britney, as the council recently denied filming rights to British broadcaster Channel 4 to shoot the TV show Top Boy in the area, as the crime thriller revolved around gang crime set at a fictional housing project in the area.
That project's writer says their request was rejected to prevent any potential tourism deterrents ahead of the Olympics, and while the mayor of the city did not specifically comment on that charge, he did note that it was not fair for residents to have their neighborhood "stigmatized on national television."
Having it stigmatized on international television, on the other hand, was apparently just fine.
But earlier today, her camp slammed the politicians' attacks, telling E! News, "The video is a fantasy story featuring Britney's boyfriend, Jason Trawick, which literally plays out the lyrics of a song written three years before the riots ever happened."