By Walt Campbell
The documentary, “Framing Britney Spears,” has put the pop-star and her fight for autonomy back in the spotlight.
The film shed light on the #FreeBritney movement, a campaign created by fans who believe her life and career are being held against her will.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about Britney Spears and her conservatorship. But if you’re like me, you probably had to google what a conservatorship even means!
According to the Judicial Branch of California, a conservatorship is when the court appoints an individual or organization to care for someone who cannot care for themselves, or who cannot manage their own finances. Conservatorships are typically used for those who are mentally unstable, elderly, or extremely ill.
Since 2008, Spears has been under a court-ordered conservatorship following concerns about her mental health. The legal arrangement allowed her father, Jamie Spears, to control both her estate and her medical treatment. It also allowed her father to make decisions regarding her personal life, including where she can go and who she’s allowed to see.
The conservatorship has been intact for over a decade and has been subject to increased scrutiny from fans over the years. Mainly because it’s unclear why it is still necessary.
At the time of her conservatorship, Spears reportedly suffered from substance abuse issues and a mental illness that’s still undisclosed. However, her career took off again not too long after the conservatorship was established.
Despite being under a conservatorship, she has released four studio albums, embarked on several world tours, and headlined one of the most successful Las Vegas residencies in history.
This begs the question: If Spears is really unable to care for herself, why has she continued to partake in such a demanding, yet lucrative career?
Fans believe Britney’s father is keeping her under a conservatorship in order to profit off of her $60 million fortune. Jamie Spears reportedly makes $130,000 a year as his daughter’s conservator and has even requested for his share to increase.
While Spears has remained mostly silent throughout her legal battle, speaking only through her legal team; her obscure social media posts have sparked countless fan conspiracies.
Earlier this month, she tweeted a video of herself performing her song “Toxic,” with the message: “I’ll always love being on stage …. but I am taking the time to learn and be a normal person… I love simply enjoying the basics of everyday life.”
In another tweet, she wrote: “Remember, no matter what we think we know about a person’s life it is nothing compared to the actual person living behind the lens.”
Fans suspect that through cryptic posts like these, Spears is supporting the #FreeBritney movement without directly saying so.
For about a year, she has been trying to have her father removed as her conservator, with no luck. Her lawyers have since said she will not perform as long as her father is in charge.
In November of last year, the court-appointed a financial group, Bessemer Trust, as a co-conservator. This means Spear’s dad and the trust have equal power over her estate.
The ruling has been celebrated by fans as a small victory, but nothing about Spears conservatorship has really changed. She is still requesting the court to remove her father and make Bessemer Trust the sole conservator of her estate.
Her next court hearing will take place on March 17 to discuss “the larger direction in which this conservatorship is headed,” according to her lawyer Sam Ingham.
Until then, supporters of the #FreeBritney movement aren’t giving up. Following the release of ‘Framing Britney Spears’, the movement has received more attention than ever before, as a handful of celebrities have publicly expressed their support for Spears.
The New York Times extended episode, ‘Framing Britney Spears’ is now streaming on Hulu. Aside from the conservatorship, the documentary details Britney’s journey to stardom as well as her troubled relationship with the press, which fueled the perpetuation that she was unable to care for herself.
It’s been reported that Netflix has its own Britney Spears documentary in the works as well.