The Internet Has Made Some Excellent Points About the #FreeBritney Movement
Last Friday, February 5th, FX aired a New York Times documentary called The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears, which chronicled the pop icon's overnight success and subsequent years of being torn to pieces in the press. Now that Spears' story has been retold through a 2021 lens, it's clear that Spears was set up to fall, and her decade-long conservatorship needs to be reconsidered for not only her happiness, but for her own safety.
In 2008, social media had yet to gain traction, the era of the paparazzi was at its peak, and Spears had reached her boiling point with the tabloids. Up until this point, she had been able to field misogynistic questions about her body, sex life, and relationships without flinching. But her lack of privacy during a messy custody battle over her sons with ex-husband Kevin Federline became too much to handle, and Spears' mental health suffered.
After scandalously shaving her head and attacking a paparazzi's car with an umbrella, Spears was admitted into a UCLA facility and her father, Jamie Spears, was granted temporary co-conservatorship over her estate, finances, and assets. This conservatorship was made permanent in October 2008.
As Framing Britney Spears tells us, a conservatorship is usually put into place when an elderly person (a conservatee) is no longer mentally capable of caring for themselves or their finances, thus a conservator is appointed. In Spears' case, her conservatorship agreement virtually takes away most of her autonomy, giving her no right to make her own music deals, book her own shows, or make any decision that directly affects her financial standing.
Those close to the star told The Times that Spears' relationship with her father has often been strained, and many times she's disclosed that she fears her father. Despite her not wanting her father involved in her estate, Jamie has remained the co-conservator of his daughter for over 10 years.
In November of 2020, Spears attempted to legally remove her father as co-conservator, but a judge in the Los Angeles Superior Court denied her request.
Fans who have been following along and supporting Spears through her conservatorship, as part of the #FreeBritney movement, dedicate themselves to finding clues pertaining to Spears' wellbeing through her Instagram account, which many believe isn't actually run by her.
Her comments section is often filled with affirming words and messages of hope that she'll be able to break free from her legal binds sooner than later. And now that Framing Britney Spears has blown up, many are using the hashtag to stand with Spears and apologize on behalf of the tabloid media.
Until her conservatorship situation changes—ideally into a new agreement in which a third-party bank is in control of her assets—Spears has vowed not to perform or work within the music industry, The Times doc reports, a threat her father reportedly plans to combat by limiting her "budget."
The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears is currently available to stream on Hulu, and though it's hard to get through at times, it's worth the watch to better understand the situation Spears finds herself in at the present.