The Framing Britney Spears documentary, which explored Spears' rise to fame and how she ended up in a conservatorship, has sparked a very uncomfortable reflection at the way famous young women were, and still are, treated in the media.
The most recent moment to resurface is a 2013 late-night chat between Lindsay Lohan and David Letterman that came at a time when the actress was preparing to check herself in for a court-appointed rehab session in lieu of jail time following a shoplifting conviction.
Prior to entering the facility, the actress appeared on The Late Show to promote her appearance in Scary Movie 5, and while the chat started off smoothly—with Lohan making a few self-deprecating jokes about "stealing" Letterman's mug and the dress she was wearing—things took an ugly turn when the host insisted on pushing Lohan to talk about her upcoming time in rehab.
“Aren't you supposed to be in rehab?” the host asks a then-27-year-old Lohan. Upon telling Letterman the date she’s set to check into a facility, Lohan continues to answer the host’s seemingly endless questions: "How long will you be in rehab? How many times have you been to rehab? What is on their list? What are they going to work on when you walk through the door? Do you have an alcohol addiction?"
Lohan looks to the audience, "We didn't discuss this in the pre-interview," before stealing the host's question sheet from behind his desk and stating, "You can’t make a joke of it, that’s so mean. You can’t do that, it’s my show now.”
Twitter user @treytaylor shared the clip on Saturday morning, noting that the 2013 interview “is horrifying to watch now.”
On Twitter, people called out Letterman for perpetuating the stigma of addiction and continuing to make an obviously uncomfortable Lohan even more so. Meanwhile, others praised her for remaining poised during the awkward exchange.
The clip caused “This clip is horrifying in so many ways but one thing that stuck out to me is it is the perfect example of when women try to politely advocate for themselves in a way that society would hopefully deem “not bitchy “ and yet they get steamrolled and ignored,” one user wrote.
Another wrote, "This is vile on so many levels. The misogyny. The blindsiding. The stigma of addiction & rehab. The hypocrisy of wanting people to recover, but then judging how they choose [to] do so. I hope Lindsay Lohan knows how loved she is. The world has treated her and so many others so unfairly."
“Everyone really did wrong by Lindsay, Paris [Hilton], Britney [Spears] and Megan Fox. It’s pretty sad to look back now to see how poorly they were treated," another added.
The resurfaced clip comes amid Justin Timberlake's apology to both Spears and Janet Jackson for the way he mistreated them during his early career—specifically, his destruction of Spears' character following their 2002 breakup.