MTV Video Music Awards

Beth Orton Under Fire For Spray Painting Joshua Tree in '1973' Video

Tierney Gearon
Beth Orton photographed in 2015.

English singer Beth Orton is getting backlash for defacing a Joshua Tree and Cholla cactus in the desert setting of her music video for the song “1973.”

The clip, directed by photographer Tierney Gearon, shows Orton spray painting a Joshua Tree, which is protected by the U.S. government. In response, a resident of Joshua Tree, Calif., posted a petition on Change.org calling for Orton to make a donation to the Mojave Desert Land Trust to pay for the clean up.

In a Facebook post, Orton wrote an apology saying she was under the impression that the Joshua Tree was dead, and that the “1973” video would be taken down.

The petition, which notes that Joshua Tree residents are “shocked and saddened” by the singer’s actions, is directed to Shore Fire Publicity. When contacted for comment, Shore Fire said that the company does not currently represent Orton.

Here is Orton’s full Facebook apology in response to the criticism.

“I am so sorry. I feel sick with disgust. I was told the tree was already dead. I will take the video down now. Please let me know what I can do to help make some kind of amends. I did not direct the video and was following direction but now I know what I have been part of I feel utterly devastated and of course take responsibility for my part. I am truly and deeply sorry.”