Free Britney Spears

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By Katie Van Lew

Britney Spears: the name is iconic in itself. Spears, often referred to as the “Princess of Pop” in the early 2000s, rapidly rose to prominence with her hit single “…Baby One More Time.” Soon after, Spears became the “it girl” of the early 21st century releasing hit after hit. Throughout the 2000s Spears cultivated a pop-empire, becoming one of the most influential figures in the music entertainment industry; however, her fame comes at a hefty price. Since her controversial breakdowns in 2008, Spears has lost all rights to her own life. Her father, Jamie P. Spears, controls Spears and all decisions attributed to her life, including finances, business deals, and day-to-day routines. Many fans fear that Spears is merely a pawn in her father’s game of extortion and manipulation.

Spears, seemingly on top of the world, came crashing down in 2008 after tabloids published articles about her during a mental breakdown. Many have associated her breakdown with alcohol and drugs, yet her critics neglect to acknowledge the mental repercussions of reaching an unfathomable amount of fame at such a young age. Since her rise to stardom, her life has been documented and publicized for the whole world, leaving her with minimal privacy to cope with her own personal issues. 

As a result of her very public breakdown, Spears lost custody of her children as well as her own assets. After her psychiatric hold, the entirety of the Spears’ empire was handed over to her father, Jamie P. Spears, who gained control over her finances, and essentially, her whole life. Her father determined that Spears was mentally unfit to have control over the very empire that she built for herself. Traditionally, conservatorships are granted for older people, many of whom have a mental disability, allowing for a legal guardian to control their assets. Lawyers involved with Spears’ conservatorship have commented on the peculiarity of granting a conservatorship to someone as young as Spears.

At first, the conservatorship appeared to be a means to prevent Britney from making poor decisions regarding her health and lifestyle. As years progressed, Jamie P. Spears maintained his position as a conservator over Britney. The narrative of protecting Britney from herself rapidly turned into accusations that her father’s control over her finances allowed him to take a cut of her check.  

Many fans have speculated that Spears’ father, aside from finance and business deals, is manipulating her media presence. In early 2019, it was reported that Spears had once again checked into a mental health facility. There has been further speculation that this stint was forced upon her by her father as a way to prove that Spears was still mentally incapable of making her own decisions.

Since 2009, fans have been advocating for the rights of all assets to be returned back to Spears. Social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter have been flooded with the hashtag “Free Britney” in support of the pop star.

Beginning in early 2019, Spears’ mother, Lynne Spears, has tried to be involved in Spears conservatorship. Lynne Spears is divorced from Spears’ father, Jamie P. Spears. Throughout the last year, her mother has been spotted “liking” Instagram posts linked to the “Free Britney Movement.” Although her father has since stepped down from his position as her conservator, her life continues to be controlled and manipulated by Jodi Montgomery, her care manager.

As time progresses, Spears has been denied the right to her own life repeatedly. Fans have become concerned for Spears, particularly with the online persona she has cultivated on her social media platforms. Soon, fans began flooding her page with comments instructing her to dress in yellow in her next TikTok video if she needed help. Fans were horrified when, upon her next video, she was dressed in yellow.  

The travesty of relinquishing all rights to her life has captivated the attention of not only her fans, but fellow celebrities as well.  

“She worked hard, was the golden goose, made lots of money, got sick, now she’s the cash cow,” Cher said in a tweet. “Does anyone who’s making money off her being sick want her well?! Someone who doesn’t want anything from her should look into her doctor and medication.”

During legal proceedings last week, it was revealed that Spears’ younger sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, requested to fulfill the position of trustee over Spears’ finances. This revelation only fuels the flame that Britney is being used to financially sustain her family.

The judge determined that Britney’s conservatorship will be extended until February 2021.

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