Jamie Spears Files to End Britney's Conservatorship. But is Britney Free?
Britney's narrative has been shaped by everyone but her. It's time we really listened.
Britney Spears's father, Jamie Spears, officially filed to end her conservatorship on Tuesday September 7th.
After 13 years of living under a conservator, this is a big win for the #FreeBritney movement.
According to her lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, Britney feels "vindicated" by this development.
However, the legal troubles might not be over. Britney might still be filing charges against her father.
According to her lawyer, Jamie Spears's move might be entirely self interested.
"It appears that Mr. Spears believes he can try to avoid accountability and justice, including sitting for a sworn deposition and answering other discovery under oath ... we will also continue to explore all options," Rosengart told a press conference.
Either way, our girl is free — mostly.
Britney Spears's father, Jamie Spears, has stepped down from her conservatorship.
This is a win for Britney, who has recently opened up about her own feelings about her conservatorship — calling her father's treatment "abuse" and filing a petition for his suspension.
In turn, Jamie Spears stepped down on his own due to mounting pressure and negative press.
However, does this mean Britney is free?
While her father has certainly been a controlling, patronizing influence in her life, his stepping down does not end the conservatorship. All it does is give the power to someone else — someone that Jamie gets to choose.
According to the document Jamie Spears filed in court, he has not set himself a date to step down and will be working to find his daughter a new conservator. "Even though he must contest this unjustified Petition for his removal," the document reads, "Mr. Spears intends to work with the Court and his daughter's new attorney to prepare for an orderly transition to a new conservator."
There is no mention of Britney or her role in the selection of her new conservator, or talk from Jamie Spears's camp about getting rid of the conservatorship at all.
Britney will not be free until she has control over her own life, her choices, and her narrative — which means ending the conservatorship and listening to what she has to say in all this.
The #FreeBritney movement started as a niche community that most people, if they ever heard about it, dismissed as a conspiracy theory.
What was a conservatorship? And how could Britney Spears, one of the most iconic pop stars of all time, not be in control of her life?
However, over the past two years, the #FreeBritney movement has gone from a fringe hashtag to a movement that has garnered mainstream support and sparked conversations about celebrity, the media, and power. Now, after Britney Spears gave her first ever public testimony about her conservatorship in the 13 years since she was put under it, it's time to finally listen to Britney.
Until Britney's June 23rd statement, everything we had ever heard about her conservatorship had been mediated — from internet rumors, confessions from anonymous sources, to speculation.
A New York Times article, which was published June 22 2021, the day before Britney was scheduled to speak publicly for the first time, revealed that the star would be sharing her discontent, chronicling her "serious opposition" to the control her conservators had over her more explicitly than before.
Court records from 2016 revealed that Britney "articulated she feels the conservatorship has become an oppressive and controlling tool against her." Yet, the public never heard any of this.
In fact, whenever the public started paying attention and the #FreeBritney movement started gaining traction for specific concerns, Britney would take to social media to reassure her fans and ask for privacy.
The biggest revelations came after the documentary Framing Britney Spears was released in February 2021. Suddenly, with new public knowledge about the details of the conservatorship and the extent her father's control combined with reflections on the paparazzi, media, and culture of celebrity which surrounded Britney at her peak, it became clear to all of us that things were not okay — and they hadn't been for a while.
The documentary recontextualized truths about Britney's life both behind and in front of the camera to give what had been at that point the clearest picture of her life. Alongside the revelations about her conservatorship, it made headlines for its deep dive into early 2000s celebrity culture.
Beyond the pressures of celebrity we would expect, it was clear in hindsight how egregiously aggressive the paparazzi and press always were, how vicious the tabloids, and how condescending the interviews.
So much has changed in the celebrity landscape since Britney's heyday, namely the use of social media which gives stars their own voice and the opportunity to shape their own narrative.
However, as many celebrated the growth of the industry and lamented the sins of celebrity past, many outlets (and even other celebrities … we're looking at you, Justin Timberlake) continued to use Britney's narrative for their own gain without admitting to their culpability.
In an Instagram post shortly after, Britney called out the media who were again trying to exploit her life and her story. On May 3, she posted a video with the caption: "These documentaries are so hypocritical … they criticize the media and then do the same thing"
"Why highlight the most negative and traumatizing times in my life from forever ago ????" Britney continued. The post was also meant to reassure people that she was happy and thriving, showing her dancing and talking about her plans for the future.
This came after her initial, now deleted reaction to the documentary, in which she said: "I didn't watch the [whole] documentary but from what I did see of it, I was embarrassed by the light they put me in... I cried for two weeks and well....I still cry sometimes !!!!"
At her June 23, 2021 hearing, Britney finally got to set the record straight in her own words.
In a 20 minute statement, Britney spoke effusively about her frustration, anger, and hurt by the conservatorship, speaking candidly and revealing new details to the public.
"I've done more than enough," Britney said. "I don't owe these people anything...It's embarrassing and it's demoralizing, what I've been through, and that's the main reason. I've never said it openly. And mainly I didn't want to say it openly because I honestly don't think anyone would believe me … that's why I didn't want to say this, people would make fun of me or laugh at me and say she's lying, she's got everything, she's Britney Spears. I'm not lying. I just want my life back and it's been 13 years and it's enough.
Spears detailed some of the restrictions that she believes are excessive, saying: "I'd like for my boyfriend to be able to drive me in his car, and I want to meet with a therapist once a week, not twice a week, and I want him to come to my home, because I actually know I can take a little therapy (laughing). I think that's...and I would like to progressively move forward and I want to have the real deal, I want to be able to get married and have a baby."
Her confession about wanting a child led to one of the most chilling revelations in the statement: that Spears is being forced to be on birth control. "I have a ID [IUD] inside of myself right now so I don't get pregnant," Britney shared. "I wanted to take the I[U]D out so I could start trying to have another baby. But this so-called team won't let me go to the doctor to take it out because they don't want me to have any children"
The extent to which Britney's conservatorship controls her has never been more clear and never been more shockingly plain. It's not just about who has control of her money, but about her lack of autonomy in every way.
In the wake of the hearing, many people have reached out in support — from fans to celebrities. Even Justin Timberlake reinserted himself into the conversation in a magnanimous attempt to seem empathetic.
After what we saw today, we should all be supporting Britney at this time. \n\nRegardless of our past, good and bad, and no matter how long ago it was\u2026 what\u2019s happening to her is just not right. \n\nNo woman should ever be restricted\u00a0from making decisions about her own body.— Justin Timberlake (@Justin Timberlake) 1624495286
"Regardless of our past, good and bad, and no matter how long ago it was… what's happening to her is just not right," said Timberlake, who should have just been quiet — or at the very least, kept his "past" out of it.
Once again, Timberlake's reaction is a perfect example of what not to do. As the next steps are taken and people on the sidelines hope for Britney to be released from her father's control, her own narrative should be at the center — not our speculations about it or our own agendas.
In the immortal words of Chris Crocker: "Leave Britney alone."
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