Britney Spears has drawn ire from British officials after brandishing a fake gun in a music video shoot near London. Local politicians want an apology from the pop star for “promoting gun violence,” reports MTV.
In the video for her upcoming single “Criminal,” Spears runs out of a convenience store waving a fake pistol, accompanied by fiance Jason Trawick, who totes a duffel bag.
The controversial Bonnie and Clyde-esque scene was shot in the London neighborhood of Hackney, and officials there say Spears is encouraging violence in the wake of Britain’s August riots.
Ian Rathbone, of the Hackney Council, aired his grievances on news program “London Tonight”: “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 she’s done to this community.”
In a statement to CNN, Rathbone says he’s standing by the remarks he gave to “London Tonight.”
“I stick by my comments which were supported by young people also interviewed at the time. Gun crime has been reducing in the Hackney area. We don’t need some celeb running around with a handgun in a public street stirring things up again,” Rathbone says. “What she did was illegal as she had not sought permission for what was apparently a late change of script and she also needed to notify the local police who would have wanted to have been present in such a situation. She is encouraging a lifestyle of crime, get something for nothing, or use a gun to get your way. I can provide the names of some charities in Hackney, and how she can help pay for a performance to be put on of a production called ‘Frenzy’ by a local theater group involving young people in the area in Hackney where a riot took place to help them express their views about what happened.”
The Council told “London Tonight” they did not approve of a replica gun being used in the video shoot. Hackney’s Member of Parliament Diane Abbott thinks Brit is behaving irresponsibly.
“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,” Abbott said. “Britney should really know better.”
For her part, Britney tweeted that she had “a blast” in London, and her rep tells 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.”