By Sarah Gill | LTVN News Director
You might’ve heard of the #FreeBritney movement, but what’s it all about? A recent documentary on Hulu produced by the New York Times explores Britney Spears’ childhood, rise to fame, criticism in the spotlight and the mystery surrounding her current situation.
Britney Spears is known for being a pop sensation with hits such as “Oops!… I Did It Again,” “Baby One More Time” and “Toxic.” However, she is also known for her mental breakdowns, most famously when she shaved her head and smashed a paparazzo’s car with an umbrella.
People tend to dwell on the negatives. The documentary investigates Britney’s downfall and attempts to explain why she did what she did. Videos are shown of paparazzi swarming her car, screaming at her. Britney was a mother having her every move followed and surrounded by photographers. It could be argued that anyone would’ve gone crazy with this treatment.
Unfortunately, it seems like the constant camera flashes are what led to Britney’s darkest moments.
Britney shaved all the hair off her head essentially saying that she quit; she wanted the paparazzi to stop.
Many fans proclaim that Britney Spears is the first celebrity to bring mental health to the public eye. When she had her very public mental breakdown, all people could see was a crazy person. Nowadays, people would understand there is far more to the story than a woman shaving her head.
Britney landed in a mental hospital shortly after. Her father, Jamie Spears, filed and was approved to be her temporary conservator. This conservatorship was made permanent in 2008. Jamie and a lawyer were put in charge of every aspect of Britney’s finances and her personal life. The lawyer stepped down in 2019 leaving Jamie to be the sole conservator.
A conservatorship is usually for elderly people or people with dementia, which is why everyone is so shocked Britney Spears, a young, successful multi-millionaire is under one.
She hasn’t had control of her life for the past 13 years.
This means that while she released her latest four albums, went on tour and had a residency in Las Vegas, her father had the ultimate say in these career decisions. And he also was taking a chunk of the profit. He makes $130,000 a year as a conservator and was approved to take 1.5% of the profit from Spears’ Las Vegas residency.
If she was at risk constantly, under a conservatorship due to a mental illness, how and why was she able to keep performing? If she’s fit to work, why is every aspect of her personal life and financial life micromanaged? This is why people are arguing to FREE BRITNEY.
No one knows what Britney Spears’ mental health actually looks like. Perhaps her conservatorship is justified. Most people think otherwise; seeing her recent social media posts as coded messages crying for help.
The documentary explains how Britney Spears’ father was not very involved with her career until she had these mental breakdowns. Her mother was the one who truly supported her and wanted her to succeed. Kim Kaiman, senior marketing director for Jive Records during Britney Spears’ rise to fame, said in the documentary, “The only thing Jamie ever said to me was, ‘My daughter’s gonna be so rich, she’s gonna buy me a boat.'”
This quote is nothing less than unsettling. It makes it seems like right when Britney Spears was at her lowest, her dad came in and took advantage of it.
The most recent developments in the conservatorship case is that Britney’s father is no longer in charge of her “person,” just the estate. He stepped down from managing her personal life in September 2019 due to his personal health condition.
Britney’s longtime caretaker Jodi Montgomery manages Britney’s personal life, controlling her visitors and having access to all of Britney’s medical records. Her father has remained in control of her finances.
Britney has repeatedly voiced her opinion and desire through her lawyers, stating that she wants her father completely removed from the conservatorship.
As of this month, the court has granted a portion of Britney’s wish as Bessemer Trust Co. was given equal power with her father to manage Britney’s finances. This means that the private banking company and Britney’s dad must work together.
The #FreeBritney movement isn’t over though. Britney still wants her father completely removed and is refusing to work until he is out.
The next hearing is set for March 17.
In the meantime, check out Britney Spears’ Instagram and see if you, too, see the cryptic messages as her cry for help.