Sunday, October 24, 2021

New beginning for #FreeBritney

Carly Newton

Unable to make financial decisions for herself, not allowed to hire her own lawyer or staff, forced to take certain medications against her will and admitted into a psychiatric facility — no, this is not a horror movie. This was Britney Spears’ life for the past 13 years.

In 2019, a movement called #FreeBritney started trending online among fans of Spears after they had become concerned for her well-being. Not many people took this movement seriously at first, but it gained more support as time went on.

In the new documentary on Netflix, “Britney vs. Spears,” the saddening details of the conservatorship that Spears was forced into in 2008 were revealed to the public. Created by journalist Jenny Eliscu and filmmaker Erin Lee Carr, “Britney vs. Spears” dove into Spears’ career and personal life.

According to the Judicial Branch of California, where Spears’ court case was held, the definition of a conservatorship is explained, as a court case where a judge appoints a responsible person or organization (called the “conservator”) to care for another adult (called the “conservatee”) who cannot care for himself or herself or manage his or her own finances.

In Spears’ case, her father, Jamie Spears, was the conservator who believed she was unfit to take care of herself. Spears was the unfortunate conservatee who was always at the mercy of her father. In “Britney vs. Spears,” a scene was depicted where Spears had been out with her boyfriend Adnan, when her father called and wanted her to come back home. Her boyfriend had no choice, but to listen to him because in the eyes of the law, Jamie Spears was also Britney Spears. This meant that Jamie Spears could have accused Adnan of kidnapping his daughter even though Britney was with him under her own power.

It was disturbing to watch a grown woman have her rights stripped away. Over the course of the conservatorship, Jamie Spears would routinely threaten to take his daughter’s  children away from her if she refused to comply.

Financially, Britney had to rely on her father for any money she may have needed. Jamie Spears was in control of her entire estate. In “Britney vs. Spears,” a graphic showed that during Britney’s “Piece of Me” tour, she earned $2.1 million in tour revenues, but her father would only pay her $8,000 a month in allowance. No father should ever want a life like this for their daughter, but he cared more about her money than her mental health. Jamie Spears is a terrible person and will hopefully face consequences of his actions.

The fact that he was granted this much control over a woman, who was sane enough to take care of herself, was disheartening and sickening. This was one example of the justice system failing to bring justice to those who need it. 

Thankfully for Spears, it looks like there is an end in sight.

In July, Spears was allowed to hire a new lawyer, Mathew Rosengart. He was going to do what her previous lawyer did not — fight for her. And fight he did.

On Sept. 29, Jamie Spears was suspended as conservator of Britney’s estate. This is the first step toward eliminating the conservatorship altogether.

This is great news to hear. At 39 years old, Spears will finally be able to be her own woman again. She won’t be told what to spend her money on, how much time she gets with her children, she will work if she wants and she will see who she wants. 

Britney is finally free.

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