How the #FreeBritney Movement Shed Light on Conservatorships

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NBC News

Britney Spears and her fiancé, Sam Asghari.

Azzurra Degliuomini, Editor

For the past thirteen years, fans of pop singer Britney Spears have been calling out to nothing, trying to shed light on Spears’ problematic conservatorship. But, after the New York Times released their bombshell documentary called Framing Britney Spears, the light was finally shed on how she has been treated over the last decade.

Britney has been under conservatorship since 2008. A conservatorship is a court file that is created after a judge appoints someone (a conservator) to oversee and control someone else (a conservatee). In a conservatorship, the conservatee has all of their rights stripped away from them, and they’re not able to control anything in their life. 

Spears has a conservatorship for two different things: her estate and financials, and her as a person. The person in charge of her conservatorship is her father, Jamie Spears. Jamie has been in charge of her estates and money since 2008, and Britney has not been able to control any of her life, including having her own appointed lawyer. 

The lawyers that Britney previously had were all appointed to her through the conservatorship. 

Britney Spears’ conservatorship has shed light on how problematic conservatorships truly are. A lot of conservatees end up in conservatorship because they have mental disorders, they’re suffering from injuries, or they’re suffering from a disability. This can create the untrue notion that people with mental disabilities and physical disabilities don’t function “regularly” like everyone else. Millions of people around the world suffer from some sort of physical or mental disability, but they also function as regular human beings. 

Conservatorships also strip your basic human rights away from you. The rights that you and I take for granted, like being able to have control of your own body, can easily be stripped away from you, like in the case of Britney. Britney, over the summer, testified in court for the first time since her conservatorship started and said that the conservatorship forced her to be on IVF, even though she herself wanted to have more children. She was unable to make that choice herself.

On July 14, 2021, a Los Angeles judge ruled that Britney had the power to hire her own lawyer, Mathew S. Rosengart. Rosengart filed a petition to remove Jamie Spears as Britney’s conservator on July 26. 

Britney has stated that as long as her father is her conservator, she will not perform or go on tour. She has claimed that she was forced to work, go on tour, and do shows to produce more money.  

On September 7, Jamie Spears filed a petition to end his tenure as Britney’s court-ordered conservator.

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