Talks between Britney Spears and PETA have been put out to pasture.
Spears was to appear in an anti-fur poster for the animal rights group, but after word got out, first in Wednesday's New York Post, that implied the pop princess would appear naked — like previous PETA spokesmodels Pamela Anderson, Melissa Etheridge and current poster girl, actress Dominique Swain ("Lolita") — the fur really began to fly and Spears scratched all association with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
"Contrary to what has been widely reported, Britney Spears was never going to appear in a PETA poster undressed," her spokesperson said in a statement. The statement also claimed that Spears would provide the organization with a photo of herself fully clothed for the anti-fur posters, but "because of the false exploitation, Ms. Spears' representatives have now declined any involvement with the organization."
The New York Post maintains the integrity of the article, which doesn't quote anyone from PETA as saying Spears would appear naked in the poster.
"We're standing by our story," Post reporter Chris Wilson said. "I didn't write the headline ['Britney Strips For Fur-Fighters'], and [in the story] I never said she was going to strip. I said peel down, or bare her bod. And when do you ever not see a picture of Britney where she's at least showing her navel?
"I didn't know if she would be nude, I just said she would be in a poster ... but you can assume [nude] from their past posters," he continued. "When does Britney ever cover up totally, anyway?"
Wilson also added that, when writing the story, PETA wouldn't confirm what Spears would be wearing.
The poster was to have depicted Spears entering New York's Centro-Fly, a nightclub that enforces a no-fur policy, with a caption reading "The only wildlife at Centro-Fly is human. No fur coats allowed," according to PETA Director of Campaigns Dan Mathews, who planned to hang the poster in nightclubs nationwide.
"For about a month now, we've been working on the poster campaign ... to encourage [nightclubs across the country] to go fur-free, like Centro-Fly," Mathews said. "That's where Britney had her record release party. That [the Post] put that in there was a surprise to all of us. We didn't even know what the photo was going to be."
Commenting on Spears' public withdrawal, Mathews added, "At least the whole world will know that she's anti-fur, so there's some good in that."
The Post story also claimed that Spears would model faux-leather clothes and accessories for PETA's pleatheryourself.com Web site, though her spokespeople said that no association between Spears and PETA is currently in place.
Communication between the two parties began when PETA sent a letter to Spears' camp, disapproving of her use of a caged tiger and albino python as performance props in this year's MTV Video Music Awards (see "Britney, J. Lo, 'NSYNC Turn To Jungle, Ja Rule, Jacko For VMA Performances"). Spears subsequently stopped using the beasts in her live act, and PETA suggested the poster.