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#FreeBritney: Why Britney Spears’ conservatorship is a prison in disguise

Britney Spears has been trapped in a legal prison in disguise for over a decade, and barely anyone has talked about it.

Until now.

While most people may not pay attention to the early 2000s superstar anymore, that doesn’t mean she’s been suffering from her own struggles any less.

Even longtime fans of hers are still discovering the fact that she’s been under a conservatorship for approximately the past 11 years. This conservatorship does more than limit her personal freedoms.

It strips away her personhood.

Let’s dive into the nature of Britney Spears’ conservatorship, and how her fans are rising up to try and #FreeBritney.

The history

Britney Spears’ conservatorship originally began in 2008, after the singer suffered an unfortunate series of mental breakdowns.

This resulted in events such as her suddenly shaving her head, and even attacking a photographer’s SUV with an umbrella.

Soon after, she was quickly admitted into a mental health ward for recovery. A court-approved conservatorship was then put into effect, with her father Jamie Spears and a lawyer acting as her conservators.


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The late 2000’s was an extremely difficult period for American pop icon Britney Spears. Spears’s aunt Sandra Bridges Covington, with whom she had been very close, died of ovarian cancer in January of 2007. In February, Spears stayed in a drug rehabilitation facility in Antigua for less than a day. The following night, she shaved her head with electric clippers at a hair salon in Tarzana, Los Angeles. She admitted herself to other treatment facilities during the following weeks. In October of 2007, Spears lost physical custody of her children to Kevin Federline. The reasons of the court ruling were not revealed to the public. In January of 2008, Spears refused to relinquish custody of her sons to Federline’s representatives. She was hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after police that had arrived at her house noted she appeared to be under the influence of an unidentified substance. The following day, Spears’s visitation rights were suspended at an emergency court hearing, and Federline was given sole physical and legal custody of the children. She was committed to the psychiatric ward of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and put on 5150 involuntary psychiatric hold. The court placed her under temporary, and later, permanent conservatorship of her father James Spears and attorney Andrew Wallet, giving them complete control of her assets. She was released five days later. As of January 1st, 2020, the conservatorship remains in place (2007) #2000shistory #history #britneyspears @britneyspears #freebritney #mentalhealthawareness #popicon #britneyjeanspears #historyinpictures #ilovehistory #conservatorship #historygram #historygeek #historybuff #historical

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A conservatorship, also known as guardianship, is a court-approved legal agreement traditionally used with people who are elderly, extensively physically or mentally ill, or cannot take care of themselves.

This places the finances and properties of the individual in the conservatorship (the conservatee) into the hands of a guardian appointed by a judge (conservator).

However, it also takes away many typical human rights and abilities such as the right to vote, to obtain a personal lawyer, and interact socially.

In many conservatorship agreements, this is meant to protect the conservatee and prevent them from potentially endangering others, since the conservatee is typically unable to take care of themselves.

In Spears’ case, however, many of her fans have speculated that her father and lawyer are using her conservatorship agreement to manipulate and restrain her. This contributed to a new fan movement that began in 2009, the #FreeBritney movement.

The call to #FreeBritney

The #FreeBritney movement began in 2009 after fans speculated about Spears’ overall health. That she was being manipulated through her conservatorship.

While Spears projects an image of self-control and empowerment during her concerts and has also made guest television appearances such as being a judge on X-Factor, many are concerned still about the singer being trapped and manipulated.

As a result of her conservatorship, Spears’ personal finances and properties are regulated exclusively by her father and lawyer. Not only that, but each of her purchases (from the smallest Starbucks drink to anything related to her estate) must be recorded on court documents.

Her father and lawyer can also control any access she has with other people. This includes her fans, her personal relationships, and even her own children.

Even escaping the agreement is difficult, as Spears is unable to hire her own personal lawyer to defend herself. If you’re wondering how bad this can be, even convicted criminals are still provided their own lawyers, as it’s a guaranteed right in the Constitution.

As a conservatee, Spears is heavily restricted when it comes to her personal rights. While restricting the activities a conservatee can do is meant to protect them and people they may interact with, Spears appears more than capable of managing herself.

Spears’ fans aren’t the only ones who have called for her freedom. In the past, other celebrities including Miley Cyrus and Rose McGowan have also expressed support for the singer.

Previously being a rather small-scale trend, the #FreeBritney movement has been among the top trending topics on Twitter for the past couple of days. The hashtag sparked back up just after Kanye West announced he is running for President.

While the #FreeBritney movement appears to be fueled in part by speculation, many believe there’s something sinister at work here.

Unfortunately, much of the business around the conservatorship agreement occurs behind closed doors, so fans are left in the dark on the legal side of things.

Despite the noble intentions a conservatorship agreement can have, using it to manipulate a self-sufficient individual makes it into a vile and cruel prison.

Perhaps with the work of many fans, Britney Spears can finally be free from her legally-binding prison.