Katy Perry sparked backlash after she joked about mental health on the 2017 Grammys red carpet on Sunday night.
While speaking to Ryan Seacrest on E!, the 32-year-old singer made a snide comment about Britney Spears' 2007 mental breakdown, during which she famously shaved her head.
After Seacrest asked Perry about how her three-year break from music went, the “Chained to the Rhythm” singer said, “That’s called taking care of your mental health... I haven’t shaved my head yet.”
Perry later appeared on CBS and made a similar comment about shaving her head.
“It's like the last colour in the spectrum that I can do,” she said of her new blond hair. “I've done all of them and the only thing left to do is shave my head, which I'm really saving for a public breakdown.”
Fans on Twitter were quickly outraged by Perry's insensitive joke about mental health, and within minutes the hashtag #KatyPerryIsOverParty started trending.
— Tammy Tweets (@tspires24) February 13, 2017
#KatyPerryIsOverParty joking about mental illnesses isn't funny, it never has been funny, it never will be funny, stop saying it's 'a joke'
— nathan (@collabswift) February 13, 2017
— Brigid Rice (@sjello14) February 13, 2017
If someone has previous/current mental health issues you need to lift them up not put them down. Shame on you! #katyperryisoverparty
— Chris Allen (@chrisdlallen) February 13, 2017
Spears’ public meltdown in 2007 was arguably one of the lowest points in the pop star's life. Following her breakdown, the pop star lost physical custody of her two kids and was admitted to rehab for drugs. In January 2008, she was then admitted to UCLA Medical Center’s psychiatric hospital. Her dad, Jamie Spears, was also made her court-approved conservator, meaning he's in charge of Spears' finances and physical well-being. This conservatorship is still in effect today, according to reports.
Since then, Spears has taken back control of many aspects of her life — including regaining primary custody of her sons — and has opened up about her mental health issues.
“I moved to Los Angeles when I was very young,” she said in a 2016 interview with Marie Claire U.K. “I was so under scrutiny. If a hair was out of place, I’d be so anxious. I would get very anxious about so many things.”
It’s not surprising that so many people are outraged by Perry’s mental health comments, as mental illness is more common than people think. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, mental illness affects one in five Canadians.
While there is still a stigma around mental health, there is an increasing number of campaigns that are helping to raise awareness and end the shame surrounding it, including Bell Let’s Talk and the #InsideOutChallenge.