As the world steadily realises that Chris Crocker was right, a monologue by late-night talk show host Craig Ferguson has gone viral for a simple reason – we really need to leave Britney Spears alone.
He spoke on 20 February, when the then 26-year-old had just checked out of rehab. It was just a day later that photographs of Spears with her head shaved, wielding an umbrella like a baton, would be splashed onto gossip magazines.
Ferguson, James Corden’s predecessor on the CBS programme, opened his show by explaining to the audience that he would not be mocking the “Toxic” hitmaker.
Instead, he took aim at his own spotty past to make a powerful point on how people and the press treat celebrities.
Craig Ferguson made powerful statement on how the world treated Britney Spears.
“Tonight, no Britney Spears jokes, and here’s why – I’m not doing them,” Ferguson began.
“The kind of weekend she had, she was checking in and out of rehab, she was shaving her head, getting tattoos, that’s what she was doing this weekend.
“This Sunday, I was 15 years sober. So I looked at her weekend, and I looked at my own weekend, and I thought: ‘You know, I’d rather have my weekend.’
“But what she’s going through reminds me of what I was doing. It’s an anniversary, you start to think about it, and it reminds me of where I was 15 years ago when I was living like that.”
Ferguson acknowledged that he wasn’t sure whether Spears was an alcoholic and that he is no expert, but added: “She clearly needs help.”
People should not be “attacking vulnerable people”, he said, but rather “powerful people” such as “politicians and the Trumps”.
“And this is a mea culpa, this is just for me, I think my aim has been off a bit recently and I want to change it a bit. So tonight no Britney Spears jokes.
“This woman has two kids. She’s 25 years old. She’s a baby herself. She’s a baby.”
Fourteen years later, almost to the day, countless users, fresh from watching Framing Britney Spears, praised Ferguson’s perspective and how relevant it remains more than a decade later.
a small reminder that empathy is a choice you can always make regardless of how cruel everyone around you is being https://t.co/Pg9k60gPza
— marianne eloise (@marianne_eloise) February 9, 2021
Craig was ahead of his time. https://t.co/cgeNKVWppE
— Janelle James , moody clown. (@janellejcomedy) February 9, 2021
He broke the rule book for late night talk shows. Did things his way, always for the better. Craig Ferguson is a god damn legend of TV and deserves more praise for his show! Big love to you @CraigyFerg https://t.co/w0MEowP9KH
— Harry Mooney (@snae_bear) February 9, 2021