The Talk hosts are calling on iconic journalist Diane Sawyer to apologize to Britney Spears amid renewed attention on how she treated the singer during a 2003 interview. Sawyer's interview with the "...Baby One More Time" singer was spotlighted in the new documentary Framing Britney Spears, streaming now on Hulu, as an example of the way Spears' fame put her in the cultural line of fire.
In the interview, Sawyer asks Spears, then 22, about her split from Justin Timberlake, "You broke his heart. You did something that caused him so much pain, so much suffering. What did you do?" The newswoman also brought up a comment from Maryland's first lady, Kendel Ehrlich, in which she said she would "shoot" Spears if given the opportunity because of the influence she had on children. Sawyer appeared to defend Ehrlich in the interview, telling Spears, "It’s because of the example for kids and how hard it is to be a parent."
During Monday's episode of The Talk, co-host Amanda Kloots said of the documentary, "I watched this the other night, and I was shocked. I don’t think the interviews that you see on this documentary would even be allowed today." She continued of Sawyer's interview, "I think Diane Sawyer does owe her an apology; I think the whole world owes her an apology, the paparazzi owe her an apology…it’s heartbreaking to see what this poor girl went through."
Sharon Osbourne agreed, adding, "She has always seemed very young to me anyway, but there she was a baby; she was just a little girl. And it’s like, it doesn’t seem appropriate to talk to a little girl with that tone." Fellow co-host Elaine Welteroth added, "I think there is no excuse for badgering a teenage girl about her love life on national television like that, and that a woman did that, and that is, was acceptable. And it just makes you reflect on how toxic our celebrity culture was, and probably still is."
Sawyer's interview has been under scrutiny on social media since the documentary brought the infamous exchange back into the headlines. "Absolutely disgusting," one person wrote on Twitter. "Misogyny executed by another woman. No wonder Britney seems so lost. We all betrayed her by allowing that narrative." Another added, "I’m sorry, why is Diane Sawyer defending someone who threatened to shoot Britney Spears?" Sawyer has not commented publicly on the backlash.