Twenty-Year-Old Britney Spears Interview Has the Internet Wanting to Cancel Diane Sawyer

Diane Sawyer Cancelled
Credit: Alan Meiss, Flickr

It’s been nearly a decade since famed television anchor Diane Sawyer was an everyday regular on air. In 2015, Sawyer left ABC World News Tonight, ending a historic career that started in the late 1960s as a weather anchor in Louisville, Kentucky, and saw her become the first correspondent at 60 Minutes. But throughout her storied career, she made several enemies. She conducted high-profile interviews that caused her to ask some difficult questions, and now those interviews are coming back to bite her as the internet is trying to cancel Diane Sawyer.

The cries to cancel Diane Sawyer started due to Britney Spears’ new memoir, The Woman in Me. It seems like an odd place for a controversy to begin, seeing as Spears and Sawyer travel in very different entertainment circles, and other than both having once been employees of the Walt Disney Company, they seem to have very little in common. Britney Spears started her career on The Mickey Mouse Club, and Sawyer worked for Disney-owned ABC.

But in 2003, at the height of her popularity, Spears sat down for an interview with Sawyer. As revealed in her recent book, Spears struggled mentally and called the interview “a breaking point.” She said of the interview:

I felt like I had been exploited, set up in front of the whole world. I was too vulnerable then, too sensitive, to do this type of interview.

In the interview, Sawyer grilled Spears on her sex life and relationships, especially her relationship with Justin Timberlake, which had ended shortly before the interview. Spears is visibly upset with the line of questioning about Timberlake. At one point, Sawyer says: 

You broke his heart. You did something that caused him so much pain, so much suffering. What did you do?

As the interview continued, Sawyer pressed Spears about her sexuality and the quality of her music. She even brought up her relationship with Michael Jackon, which was a non-story. The infamous 2003 interview ended with Britney Spears in tears.

So, with the Spears interview as evidence, social media went back and looked back at some of the ABC News and Good Morning America anchors’ other celebrity interviews to look for a pattern. Social media found that when a pop star sat down for a Diane Sawyer interview, they were subjected to questions about their personal lives that were intended to embarrass them.

In a 2002 TV interview on ABC News, Sawyer asked Whitney Houston about her body, saying that Houston looked “scary thin.” She persisted with the line of questions about Whitney Houston’s body in an attempt to get her to admit she had a drug problem. She died a decade later of a drug-induced drowning.

After Janet Jackson accidentally exposed herself while dancing with Justin Timberlake, she sat down with Sawyer during a segment of Good Morning America. Jackson was embarrassed by the performance and the ensuing publicity, but when Sawyer opened the interview, she said, “I’m so glad you put something around you. I was feeling guilty that I had a coat on!” Sawyer then grilled Jackson about protecting children from inappropriate scenes on television and sexual lyrics from her new album.

Sawyer has been in the news lately with the passing of Matthew Perry. She was one of the final extended interviews he gave before his death. She also interviewed Marvel star Jeremy Renner on his recovery from his snowplow accident.

This post is originally appeared on Disney Fanatic.

About Rick Lye

Rick is an avid Disney fan. He first went to Disney World in 1986 with his parents and has been hooked ever since. Rick is married to another Disney fan and is in the process of turning his two children into fans as well. When he is not creating new Disney adventures, he loves to watch the New York Yankees and hang out with his dog, Buster. In the fall, you will catch him cheering for his beloved NY Giants.

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