Ah — April Fools' Day. The dumbest day of the year. No offence to those who partake in the holiday, but there's a lot of room for people's pranks to backfire, annoying and upsetting people instead of making them laugh. And right now, no one knows just how regrettable a bad April Fool's Day joke can be more than BBC 3. The network shared a tweet on April 1, hoping to bring a hearty chuckle to their hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers. Instead, they just upset mostly everyone who laid eyes on a Photoshopped image featuring Ed Sheeran's face edited onto Britney Spears' body in the now-infamous image of her shaving off her hair in 2007 during an intense and heartbreaking public meltdown.
Funny stuff right? Eh, no. Definitely not. They even had the gall to caption the tasteless image: "Breaking news: Ed Sheeran has gone full Britney 2007."
The tweet was quickly taken down, but not without warranted backlash and criticism. To make fun of a woman who, a decade ago, went through an incredibly taxing and emotionally draining bout of mental instability brought on by the toxicity of her fame and those close to her is so tacky. Not only that, but Spears has acknowledged, accepted, and fully recovered from whatever personal problems she was dealing with and is now more famous and more loved than ever. Why bring up this image? Why make fun of mental health issues? Why is someone's downfall funny? One Twitter user even pointed out the irony that the site had announced 2017 would be a year of focusing on mental health issues, but then goes on to publish this attempt at a joke.
The site told the Daily Mail that "BBC Three has a history of supporting mental health issues and the tweet was not intended as a reference to mental health, or designed to cause any offence." They added: "We have therefore removed it from our twitter feed."
Good call. It wouldn't hurt to offer up an apology, too, while you're at it.