With the release of a new documentary, the case of Britney Spears’ conservatorship is garnering headlines across the globe. Here’s what you need to know about how she came to be under complete control of her father, and why her fans are creating a movement to get her out.

Graphic by Emmi Wu ’23/Staff

Britney Spears is an international pop superstar. She earns her millions of devoted, loving fans around the world by using her voice to make everyone feel loved and accepted. Although she may seem very hyper and joyful on her famous Instagram and TikTok pages, that may just be a superficial shine. And that shine is starting to wear off. 

The New York Times recently released a brand new documentary through Hulu called The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears, which explained how the 2000s impacted Spears’ career and mental health, which led to long-term consequences when it comes to her everyday life. The documentary mentions how the media portrayed her. It highlights how paparazzi constantly abused her and invaded her privacy, and how her past boyfriends used their male privilege in the media and tabloids to paint her as an evil person who did wrong, clearing their own names while doing so. After her very public struggles in 2007 and 2008 because of constant sexualization and bullying the media and public put her through, a conservatorship with her father, James “Jamie” Spears, was put into place. 

A conservatorship is a legal agreement in the United States. It’s when “a guardian or a protector is appointed by a judge to manage the financial affairs of another’s daily life due to physical or mental problems, or old age,” according to Wikipedia. Spears has been under this court-ordered conservatorship for almost thirteen years, meaning her life choices are being controlled by her conservator, Jamie Spears. He is in control and has a say in everything she does. This can mean anything from what performances and interviews she will do, or even simple enough acts of leaving her house. 

Ever since the conservatorship was enforced, Spears has worked on herself, trying to become better for her family, friends, fans, and especially her kids. In addition, in those thirteen years, she has released four chart-topping albums, went on a world tour, and performed a four-year concert residency in Las Vegas. Clearly, she is now mentally stable enough to take care of herself and her family, along with making her own decisions. 

Fans have realized that Spears now needs freedom as she cannot live like this forever. Therefore, they formed the “Free Britney” movement, with protestors in the streets of Los Angeles outside her court hearings, along with making the “#FreeBritney” trend throughout all social media platforms. They are making this toxic situation known, and creating an internationally recognized movement. 

“Free Britney” is not a new movement; in fact it will turn two years old this year. However, the release of the documentary from one of the most respected news outlets in the world has brought more attention to it than there has ever been before. It has gone from a discussion just amongst Spears’ most loyal fans to mainstream media outlets covering it as an important headline.

As of right now, Spears’ conservatorship case continues to make its way through court. Shortly after the release of the documentary, she had a win when a judge ruled her father could no longer be the sole conservator over her finances. But he continues to run many major aspects of her everyday life, and there are not any predictions or signals on whether or not Spears will be able to gain back her freedom from her father.


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