Kendel Ehrlich, wife of Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich, is being criticized for saying during a forum on domestic violence that she would like to shoot singer Britney Spears. The Baltimore Sun says that Mrs. Ehrlich stands by her statement that the navel-baring Spears is a poor role model for children.
Ehrlich cited Spears during remarks Friday at a conference by a prosecutor’s office. She said that some some domestic violence could be averted if women could end their dependence on abusive men and be better prepared to care for themselves and their children. The entertainment industry does a poor job of portraying women as independent figures, she said. “Really, if I had an opportunity to shoot Britney Spears, I think I would,” said Ehrlich, who has worked both as a public defender and a prosecutor.
Later her office issued a statement explaining that “as a working mother raising a four-year-old son, the first lady has concerns about the negative influences that the entertainment industry can have on young children and teenagers. During a public appearance, she inadvertently used a figure of speech to express those concerns.”
Leah Barrett of the gun control group CeaseFire Maryland said that jokes about shootings were particularly inappropriate at a domestic violence forum. “That’s an unfortunate choice of words,” Barrett said. “I kind of feel sorry for her, but she is in a public position, so she has to be aware of the impact her words can have.”
Spears’s label, Jive Records, said that “since this unfortunate comment was made at a domestic violence prevention conference, it seems that Mrs. Ehrlich has shot her own self in the foot by promoting violence.”