A familiar hashtag has surfaced yet again on social media- a call to #FreeBritneySpears. Now, to the uninitiated, Britney Spears is not held hostage by kidnappers, nor is she under house arrest. It is simply an issue of basic human rights that are being curtailed due to the legal conservatorship she is under. Britney Spears conservatorship has been a long-standing issue between the famous singer and her father Jamie Spears who is said to be her legal guardian, and who apparently has the entire power of attorney to navigate Britney Spears’ life as he sees fit.
It’s been over a decade that the Britney Spears conservatorship is in place- something that came up in 2007 when the singer had a breakdown. Since then, her fans have been trying to get her out of this web that has been spun around her. In 2020, fans believe that although the hashtag in itself isn’t new, she has recently been heavily challenging the conservatorship against Jamie Spears, her father through messages sent through her social media posts. Due to this, her supporters are debating whether to petition the White House to put an end to the conservatorship.
Although she has been publicly silent on this matter, she did file a legal request to amend the Britney Spears conservatorship substantially, whilst removing her father as custodian.
Wait, what is Britney Spears conservatorship?
A conservatorship is issued in place when a citizen is not capable of taking decisions on their own due to mental disabilities- in this scenario, the legal guardian is given the conservatorship over the citizen. And this allows the legal guardian to have full custody of not only the finances and the legal discourses, but also on the person’s life. Jamie Spears, as a part of the Britney Spears conservatorship, has had control over her $60 million fortune which is also partly controlled by an attorney called Andrew Wallet. It has been reported that Jamie Spears also negotiates the business that his daughter receives.
According to the attorney that has been appointed to her by the court, Britney Spears sits in all the meetings and her consent is required in every single decision the conservator takes. And yet, her fans aren’t willing to accept that- something that has simply been elevated by the fact that her own father acknowledged that relations between Britney Spears and Jamie Spears have never been easy or simple. Currently, the #FreeBritneySpears demands that the Britney Spears conservatorship be lifted, or certain amendments brought about- like her choosing her own lawyer.
Why does Britney Spears have a conservator?
When Britney Spears divorced her husband Kevin Federline back in 2007, her husband went to court for the custody of her two children and won. And that was simply because of the many episodes that she had the previous year- one where she shaved her head off, had multiple breakdowns and smashed paparazzi cars under the influence of drugs.
The last decade has determined that all these actions were a direct consequence of her being subjected to the scrutiny that the media had on her, along with her previous drug problems. The next year, she was committed to a psychiatric hospital without her consent, and a court gave her father Jamie Spears the right to be her temporary conservator, which soon became permanent. As of 2019, Jamie Spears has officially stepped down from the Britney Spears conservatorship, although he still wields a lot of power when it comes to controlling the life of his daughter.
Do we know how she feels about the Britney Spears Conservatorship?
Britney Spears has had massive turbulences when it comes to the conservatorship. She has oscillated between being on board with the decision and challenging it with an inch of her life. Back when the order came in, she was still in the 2008 phase- full of anger and wanted her old life back. One, where she would be allowed to go out of her house without having to ask someone for permission. Or one, where she would be allowed to select the bodyguard she wanted. In 2009, she also hitched a ride with the media, fully intent on challenging the court order.
But since then, she has undergone something of a transformation- one that has allowed her to believe that what she thought of as a cage was simply a ‘protective bubble’. She and her career have been catapulted back to the stars, thanks to a Las Vegas residency. Back in 2016, there was an investigation into her life under the Britney Spears conservatorship where she was found to be quite at ease. The legal guardianship allowed her to focus on her music and her growing family, and she was not harmed at all. Although her closely-knit group of friends wasn’t asked for comments, the general consensus is that she was fine. She also posted on Instagram, talking about how she was strong enough to deal with things, and change them if she didn’t like how they were.
Nonetheless, it doesn’t change the fact that Britney Spears is still beholden to adults if she wants to drive her own car to buy groceries with her own money. Even if we take in the fact that we are talking about a highly successful singer who has multiple Grammy awards, and has turned her life completely, it is a blatant disregard for someone’s human rights, which has been guaranteed by the constitution of America.
So what is the #FreeBritney movement all about?
Soon after the order for Britney Spears conservatorship came into existence, her fans started rallying in order to push the courts to relinquish it. Though there was a lull in the movement in the middle years, it has again swung in complete rhythm, with her fans reaching courthouses to be present during the proceedings. The movement has quite a lot of members now, with all of them bearing signs with the hashtag #FreeBritney. The start of 2019 had Britney cancel out her Las Vegas residency in the wake of her father’s hospitalization due to a ruptured colon, where she believed that she needed to be with Jamie Spears.
Interestingly, the announcement showed up on her Instagram, after which the account became inactive for quite some time- an unusual occurrence as she always used to post and upload stories. Soon, it was reported that Wallet wanted to have his conservatorship canceled out, due to some personal problems. And then April brought forth the Instagram post where Britney Spears spoke about how she wanted some alone time in the face of such adversities and then checked into a mental health facility where she remained for a week.
Yet, there was a twist in the tale of the Britney Spears conservatorship as there have been alleged reports that the truth was totally different. Britney Spears was pulled out by Jamie Spears from the Las Vegas residency simply because she refused to take her pills and then put in a mental health facility. Now, while she did uphold a post on Instagram mentioning that she was fine, people weren’t really assured- knowing that she wasn’t allowed to post anything without permission.
And why is #FreeBritney trending again now
The first half of 2020 has been quite an interesting time for Britney Spears fans, as the singer has peppered her Instagram with videos of her working, dancing, working out, and apparently, claiming for help. This might seem out of context, but fans believe that Spears is actually sending coded messages because of the Britney Spears conservatorship. This came back to the front of the news after a fan had asked her to wear something yellow if she needed help, and she did wear a yellow top in the next Instagram post. But we also need to ground ourselves to reality- Britney Spears’ Instagram followers run into the millions- who knows how many comments she actually reads on her posts?
Now though, she has gone to court and filed a lawsuit seeking amendments in the entire arrangement.
What does the filing against the Britney Spears conservatorship say?
The lawsuit filed has two main claims which were displayed before the Los Angeles Superior Court. The first one was to remove Jaime Spears, her father, from the list of conservators, and without waiving her future right to terminate the conservatorship at any point in time, select Jodi Montgomery as her chief Conservator. Also, she wants someone with a solid business and financial acumen to be the one handling her estates and stopping the rampant mismanagement that seems to be going on.
What does her dad have to say about all this?
Jamie Spears has refused to pass any comments on this issue, but Page Six did report an exclusive where the father of Britney Spears mentioned how the #FreeBritney movement was filled with a bunch of conspiracy theorists who had no idea what really was going on with the Britney Spears conservatorship. Also, he spoke about how he documented every single expenditure of Britney Spears, making it practically impossible for him to siphon off funds for his personal use.
The truth is yet to be revealed, but it can’t be denied that the Britney Spears conservatorship is a gross disregard for Britney Spears’ rights. A decade has passed since her breakdown in 2008, and it is time courts look into the private lives of Britney Spears and Jamie Spears before passing any ruling.