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The Tongva Times

‘Framing Britney’ gives insight to Spears’ conservatorship

By Lam Chung | Staff Writer

Den of Geek

   On Feb. 5, the New York Times released the “Framing Britney” documentary, covering Britney Spears’ career leading up to the #FreeBritney movement. From being a small town girl to becoming the biggest pop star in the world, to being confined in a forced conservatorship, the audience sees the rollercoaster that Britney Spears has had to go through.  

   In the beginning of Spears’ career, she enjoyed the attention, paparazzi, and media coverage that she was given. 

   Daniel Ramos, celebrity videographer, stated, “It was like she needed us and we needed her, we both needed each other, and it was a great kind of relationship.” 

   However, as the years progressed, the constant presence of tabloids, the relationship scandals, and the media started to conflict with Spears’ personal life, especially after she became a mother. 

   This all culminated in Spears’ infamous 2007 breakdown, where she shaved her head in front of the tabloids and beat their cars as a symbol of quitting the pure popstar image that was built around her. Later that year, she lost custody of both of her sons due to her new reckless image and completely lost visitation rights. 

   In 2008, after Spears’ multiple mental health and drug abuse crises, her father, Jamie Spears, filed for a temporary conservatorship over her, which are legal arrangements where a judge appoints a guardian to take control over another adult’s finances and personhood if they are deemed incapable of looking after themselves due to physical restrictions or their mental health. It was discovered that it was not the conservatorship that Britney was against, but rather, the problem was her father being the conservator.  

   On Oct. 28, 2008, the conservatorship over Spears was ruled as permanent and that her father and his attorney, Andrew Wallet, would be her legal co-conservators. Today, however, Spears is fighting in court to be released from her father’s watch. All the while, her father is able to use money from her account to pay for his lawyer, as he is in control of her estate. 

   In 2009, Spears went back to work and seemed healthier in the eyes of the media, performing again, going to award shows, and even landing a deal with the areas in Las Vegas. All of these decisions were made by her father. The only source of freedom she had was her Instagram account, where she would post videos and photos of her personal life, but the conservatorship was never mentioned, leading her fans to believe she was sending coded messages through these posts.

   In 2017, Babs Gray and Tess Barker, two of Spears’ fans, started the podcast, “Britney’s Gram,” in which they would analyze her posts, seeking coded messages. As a result of the cryptic messages found, in conjunction with the news that Spears’ co-conservator, Wallet, wanted the conservatorship to be viewed more as a “hybrid-business model” despite already making $426,000 a year off her estate, the two created the #FreeBritney movement in 2019.

   Barker stated, “The conservatorship, which really is put in place to take care of people, naturally shouldn’t be a business that is making exorbitant amounts of money from someone who is so fit to work.”

   Through mass social media support, to fans protesting outside of courthouses, the #FreeBritney movement is gaining momentum everyday, advocating for the liberation of Spears from her unfortunate situation.

   The legal battle between Britney and her father is ongoing, and the #FreeBritney movement is amassing hundreds of supporters by the day, but it is up to the courts to ultimately decide Spears’ fate.

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‘Framing Britney’ gives insight to Spears’ conservatorship