And yet, in the week since she wrapped filming, Spears has been taken to task by politicians in the U.K. for a scene in the video, in which the pop star packs a pistol as she flees a London-area building. They've claimed that the image of Brit gripping a gun glamorizes violence and, in the aftermath of the widespread riots that rattled the nation last month, the pop star should "apologize ... for the rudeness and damage that she's done to our community."
Late Monday (September 26), MTV News received a statement from Spears' camp about the "Criminal" controversy — and, from the sound of things, she's not going to be apologizing anytime soon.
"The video is a fantasy story featuring Britney's boyfriend, Jason Trawick, which literally plays out the lyrics of a song written three years before the riots ever happened," the statement read.
Criticisms of the "Criminal" video began last week, after images of Spears and Trawick making an escape from an apparent robbery (with Brit brandishing a replica revolver) began making the rounds. The scene in question was shot in the London borough of Hackney, which was hit hard by the August riots, and local politicians were upset by what they saw as an insensitive gesture by Spears.
"It is only a music video, but it's images like this, with pop stars glamorizing gangs, which means that some young people ... get drawn in," Hackney's Member of Parliament, Diane Abbott, told the ITV news program "London Tonight." "Britney should really know better."
Hackney's council members — who gave Spears' camp the OK to shoot at the nearby Stoke Newington Town Hall — also took issue with the fact that no one involved with the production of the "Criminal" video mentioned that a gun was to be used in the clip and, had they known, they would not have allowed filming in the recently restored building.
"In this case we did not agree that a replica gun could be used at Stoke Newington Town Hall and are disappointed," the council said in a statement to "London Tonight." "We will be raising this matter with the production company."