Photo Credit: FOX via Getty Images, Ron Galella/WireImage
Britney Spears was set up, y'all. The "Scream and Shout" singer was recently approached by a TMZ cameraman, who asked how she felt about the passing of Annette Funicello. Since Annette was a cast member on the original '50s Mickey Mouse Club, and Britney was part of the '90s revival, the gossip site was probably expecting to get a personal reaction. Instead, after the cameraman shouted his question, Spears smiled and said, "I think that's great!" Of course, the headline on TMZ's "exclusive" became "Britney Spears: Annette Funicello's Passing 'Is Great.'"
Which is totally unfair. Because Britney obviously, obviously, did not hear the question.
You can see it in the video below. Spears, who has spent half her life being tailed by paparazzi, isn't paying attention. She's just trying to get into her car. So she gives the guy a smile, assuming that's what he wants. And when he stops talking, she gives a generic answer. Unfortunately, it was not the appropriate one. But think about the circumstances: Some guy runs up to you in a parking lot with a video camera and asks how you feel about someone's death? Who's really ever prepared for that?
Shortly after TMZ posted the video, Spears aired her real feelings about Annette Funicello's death on her Twitter.
Misheard a question I was asked earlier by press while I was out and about.I am DEVASTATED to hear about the passing of Annette Funicello.— Britney Spears (@britneyspears) April 8, 2013
She was a role model for me during my days as a Mousketeer. #Heartbroken— Britney Spears (@britneyspears) April 8, 2013
We wonder if TMZ even approached Britney for an actual comment before posting that misleading video. It just goes to show that Spears is still an easy target. And why should that be? This is a woman who hit rock bottom, got up again, and worked her way back to the top. Plenty of other stars sink even further, and some never come up at all. Spears' story is, at this point in time, a triumph. Shouldn't we be over the "haha, Britney is dumb and crazy" thing by now? Where is the "Leave Britney alone" guy when you need him?
At least she has Twitter, which offers stars an easy way to correct misunderstandings (or, occasionally, perpetuate them). Here are a few more celeb tweets paying tribute to Funicello, who died of multiple sclerosis on Monday at the age of 70.
Aw, sad to hear of Annette Funicello's passing, another raven haired goddess of the 50s that inspired me.— Dita Von Teese (@DitaVonTeese) April 8, 2013
Annette Funicello’s death truly saddens me. She was such a bright and wonderful part of all of our history.— Joan Rivers (@Joan_Rivers) April 8, 2013
Annette did not get her due today because of Margaret. I don't need to tell you who was more important to a 12 year old boy.— Albert Brooks (@AlbertBrooks) April 9, 2013
My thoughts are with the family of Annette Funicello. My best, Bill— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) April 8, 2013
Margaret Thatchers death has blown a hole into history. Annette Funicellos has blown a hole through my heart. #rip— Adam Shankman (@adammshankman) April 8, 2013