How can we help #FreeBritney? Here’s the current situation
Fans of Britney Spears say her father, Jamie, needs to take a note from Chris Crocker’s iconic video and “leave Britney alone”. Jamie has been the 90s pop icon’s conservator, or legal guardian, since her mental breakdown in 2008. Recently, Britney herself has been fighting to have her father removed as her conservator in the courts, with little success. The event around her court cases have inspired the hashtag #freeBritney.
Britney Spears’ fellow pop stars Miley Cyrus & Cher vocally support the movement, as do other celebrities like Paris Hilton. #freeBritney began trending again on November 12th after Britney’s case to have her father removed was denied by the court. During the hearing, Britney’s lawyer Samuel D. Ingham III shared “she is afraid of her father” and “she will not perform again if her father is in charge of her career.”
While Britney saw some success when Bessemer Trust was assigned as a co-conservator, she wants her father completely out of her conservatorship. Fans believe Britney is being controlled by her father against her will, but how true are these rumors? Could #freeBritney ever truly happen? Here’s the truth behind the case.
A woman who needs help
In January 2008, Britney Spears was put under a conservatorship after she was committed to the psych ward of UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center. Her father Jamie & attorney Andrew Wallet were assigned by the court to manage the conservatorship. Under the conservatorship, both Jamie & Wallet had full control of all of Britney’s assets & net worth.
We all remember the mental health crisis Britney Spears faced between 2007 & 2008 as she struggled with substance abuse and her failing marriage. The courts ordered the conservatorship due to Spears’ troubled behavior, including shaving her head, driving with her baby in her lap, and assaulting a photographer with an umbrella. Britney has been under said conservatorship since. So, why is #freeBritney just now trending?
Possible abuse of power?
In 2019, Wallet stepped down from Britney Spears’s conservatorship, as Britney could no longer afford the attorney’s services. This left Jamie Spears the sole conservator of Britney’s finances & career. At the beginning of the year, Britney announced she was taking an indefinite hiatus and cancelling her Vegas residency. Britney ended up entering rehab over the mental distress, allegedly because of her father’s health.
However, a podcast called Britney’s Gram came out in March claiming the excuse of Jamie’s health was a lie. They asserted Jamie forced Britney to cancel the Vegas residency and announce a hiatus. In addition, the podcast claimed Jamie forced Britney into a rehab center against her will, and is currently holding her there by force.
The biggest claim Britney’s Gram made was Britney Spears’s conservatorship expired in 2009. All these claims sent fans in a frenzy, worried for Britney’s wellbeing. Thus, #freeBritney was born. Tweeted by fans, Paris Hilton, Cher, and even the ACLU, many rallied support to get Britney out of the rehab facility she was allegedly being held in.
The #freeBritney movement even sparked a protest, with fans gathering outside West Hollywood City Hall in April. Two days later, Britney finally addressed the public claiming “all is well” and left the facility on April 26th.
Fighting in the courts
In May 2019, a legal battle for Britney’s conservatorship began. Judge Brenda Perry demanded an evaluation of the conservatorship to verify there was no abuse of power from Jamie. #freeBritney supporters continued to promote rumors Jamie was abusive to Britney, but there was no verified proof of abuse at the time.
In August 2019, Britney’s ex-husband Kevin Federline filed a restraining order against Jamie on behalf of one of his sons. Britney shares two children with Federline, and the order claimed Jamie got into a physical altercation with one of his two grandchildren. While the restraining order was in place, Jamie was removed as a conservator and Britney’s longtime care manager, Jodi Montgomery, took over temporarily.
According to sources close to Britney, the altercation between Jamie & Britney’s sons was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Jamie also chose a new talent manager for Britney after her former company resigned, but didn’t get notice from Britney or her lawyer. From that moment on, Britney saw a need to get her father removed from the conservatorship.
After no decisions were made about the restraining order, Jamie became the sole conservator of Britney Spears’s estate again. From September 2019 until August 2020, there wasn’t any news relating to Britney’s case. The only “news” were rumors Britney wouldn’t put out any new music until her father was removed from the conservatorship.
Fighting for freedom
Jamie Spears has called the #freeBritney campaign “a joke”, claiming the entire hashtag was created by “conspiracy theorists”. In August 2020, Britney’s lawyer filed an official motion to get Jamie taken off of Britney’s conservatorship and permanently replaced by Montgomery, along with adding “a qualified corporate fiduciary” to manage her finances.
The courts declared the current conservatorship agreement was to remain in place until February 2021. However, the court allowed Britney to add Bessemer Trust as a co-conservator. Britney appealed the decision, requisition Jamie was suspended, rather than permanently removed, from his duties of conservator.
This brings us to Tuesday, when the courts denied Britney’s request. The conservatorship will remain as it is today until February 2021. Britney has threatened to stop performing & creating new music until her father is removed from the conservatorship. However, a new single called “Swimming in the Stars” is allegedly coming out by the end of 2020. It’s unclear if Britney approved the single’s release.
Can Britney ever truly be free?
#freeBritney started as a campaign for fans to allow Britney freedom to run her own career & finances. However, former co-conservator Andrew Wallet claimed Britney is going to be under her conservatorship for the rest of her life. With the latest court ruling, it looks like the earliest Britney could find freedom is February 2021.
Unfortunately, the #freeBritney movement may have to continue fighting for the pop star’s freedom. Regardless, Britney Spears is keeping a positive disposition on social media. In a post from November 2, Britney insisted she’s “the happiest she’s ever been in her life” even with the conservatorship drama. We hope she keeps that positivity into 2021.