LOS ANGELES: Britney Spears raised the dander of the People for the
Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) at last week's MTV Video Music
Awards, but managed to escape the controversy with just a few
Debuting her new single, I'm a Slave 4 U, Spears performed onstage with
a yellow python wrapped across her shoulders and a caged tiger behind
her. PETA protested the use of animals for entertainment purposes,
although campaign director Dan Matthews defended Spears herself, despite
the organization's formal written protest to the pop star delivered the
day before the show.
"I'm sure she's just getting some bad advice and she's young," said
Matthews. "We're not outraged at her."
Matthews confessed that he doubted if Spears even received the letter,
as it was sent so close to the time of her performance.
PETA plans on following up with the errant diva by sending her
"undercover tapes" of wild animals being trained. "We have no doubt that
when she learns about how animals are starved and beaten, she will never
use them again," Matthews said.
Despite the MTV incident, Spears is known to be an animal lover, and has
donated images of herself to PETA's anti-leather campaign, as well two
pictures to a silent auction held last weekend. Those photos sold for
$120 and $175.
This is not Spears' only run-in with animal rights activists, though.
Erroneous reports in July said that three dogs owned by the singer would
be included in the sale of her Louisiana mansion, prompting the SPCA to
publicly remind her that pets are a long-term commitment. However, a
PETA inquiry into that situation found that the dogs actually belonged
to the property's caretakers.
Her label, Jive Records, handled Spears' press for the MTV event. Lisa
Kasteler of Wolf Kasteler PR in LA handles the pop star's personal
press. Neither was available for comment.