Tokyo subway riders are in for a treat: the sight of a nude Britney Spears.
Following an initial ban by government censors who branded an advertisement featuring Spears in the buff as “too stimulating” for young people, transit authorities in the city are now permitting posters of the pregnant pop princess to proceed as planned, reports the Associated Press.
The poster of Spears – naked but shielding her breasts with her arms and crossing her legs at the knee – is actually a blow-up of the cover of the August issue of Harper’s Bazaar, which will also serve as the cover of the magazine’s October Japanese edition.
In objecting to the picture, Tokyo Metro Co.’s obscenity screening team had asked the publisher HB Japan to modify the photo – given that nudity is not accepted in ads in subway cars and stations, said Tokyo Metro spokesman Tatsuya Edakubo.
During talks last month, reports AP, the publisher reluctantly agreed to blacken out the image from the waist down, with the intention of plastering a message over the masked body parts reading, “In this place we are not allowed to exercise the same level of freedom of expression as the original Harper’s Bazaar.”
But on Thursday, Tokyo Metro said it would allow full presentation of the photo as an exception to its obscenity rule, saying it understood the publisher’s intention was to portray a happy expectant mother – not to be sexually explicit.
Spears, 24, and husband Kevin Federline, 28, are expecting their second child this fall. The couple already have an 11-month-old child, Sean Preston.)
The magazine’s deputy chief editor, Kayoko Higashino, who had called the initial restriction “ridiculous,” welcomed the decision. “I’m glad the subway officials understood the meaning of the photo,” she said.
“Our earlier request to cover the photo from the waist down was because of nudity, not because we had anything against pregnant women,” said Metro spokesman Edakubo, adding that officials later decided that censoring the photo would be inappropriate.