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Why is Everyone Calling to #FreeBritney?

Photo by Guido Coppa via Unsplash

These days, it looks like Britney Spears might have more “toxic” things in her life than love interests. Fans are in outrage over Britney’s current state of affairs, and with an immense following (read: 24.7 million Instagram followers), many of them are not willing to be ignored. What is really going on with this early 2000s pop icon?

The hosts of the “Britney’s Gram” podcast popularized the #FreeBritney movement in 2019. The hashtag refers to Spears’ liberation from a conservatorship established back in 2008. Although Britney’s father Jamie Spears and lawyer Andrew Wallet were the conservators at the arrangement’s outset, the most recent person to fill this role (albeit just temporarily) is care manager and professional fiduciary Jodi Montgomery.

Hold on – what does conservatorship mean, anyway? The term refers to a legal configuration in which one individual helps to administer another individual’s assets. Typically, the latter is someone who has been deemed unfit to regulate these matters on their own, either moderately or entirely. An exposé by the Washington Post from 2019 found that it was in Jamie Spears’ power to revoke existing powers of attorney and that his daughter did not even have an email account. Others have stated that the agreement even prohibits Britney from driving.

 

In 2019, Spears called off her Vegas residency, citing her father’s health concerns as justification. However, this seemingly understandable situation quickly turned into an enigmatic one when an anonymous source (a purported employee of a law office handling the conservatorship agreement) appeared on the “Britney’s Gram” podcast. The source proclaimed that this decision was actually made by Britney’s father after the star halted taking her medication. She also entered a mental health treatment center around this time, a transition that the source says was not of her own accord.

 

Fans point to the star’s long list of successes in the time that has passed since the start of the conservatorship as evidence for her fitness to oversee her own estate. Since 2008, she has released loads of music, headlined a Las Vegas show for four years, and judged for The X Factor.

Although fans are largely against the continuation of the conservatorship, this sentiment is not unanimous. Advocates of the arrangement say that it provides the star with necessary support to keep on leaving her legacy. Some point to the fact that Britney appears happier today than she was twelve years ago, having swapped umbrella-wielding for home workout videos galore. Additionally, other unnamed individuals have upheld that Britney does have a voice even under the conservatorship. Still others are unconvinced that she is fit for total control over her own financial and legal dealings, pointing to this video of Spears admitting to burning down her home gym.

 

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A post shared by Britney Spears (@britneyspears) on

 

 

At present, the conservatorship has been lengthened to August 22, 2020 at minimum. However, Britney’s future, like pretty much everything in our pandemic age, still looks uncertain.

What do you think? Let us know in the poll below.

Cover Photo by Guido Coppa via Unsplash

  • Should Britney be released from the conservatorship?

    • definitely
    • I don’t think it’s a good idea
    • the issue definitely needs to be investigated further

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Written by Megan Pontin

Enthusiastic word-collector, avid pancake-consumer, and experienced hammock-lounger. Student at Cornell University.

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