The legal controversy surrounding Britney Spears is no secret. His father has controlled his career and finances since 2008, a position he has been fighting for years.
The fight is back in the spotlight after the release of a New York Times documentary, Framing Britney Spears, which follows the beloved pop star’s rise to fame, public collapse, and her recent comeback. The documentary also focuses on past media coverage of Spears, which many now consider misogynistic.
For years, fans have used the hashtag #FreeBritney to support the singer’s desire to leave her guardianship, a court-appointed role that gives her father, Jamie Spears, the power to control her estate. Britney’s attorneys have said she will no longer act while her father is in charge.
Both parties will return to court on Thursday for a status hearing.
What is a conservatorship?
A conservatorship is legally defined as a court case in which a judge appoints an individual or organization, called a conservator, to care for someone who “cannot care for himself” or who cannot manage his own finances, according to the Judicial Branch. Of California.
Zoe Brennan-Krohn, an attorney for the ACLU, told CBS News that guardianship laws will vary from state to state, making it difficult to determine exactly how many exist across the country.
Guardianships are supported by law when less restrictive options are ruled out, Brennan-Krohn said, but all too often, they are granted as a “first resort” when someone encounters difficulties or experiences age-related disabilities.
Brennan Krohn called Britney “one of countless thousands across the country” under guardianship or guardianship, calling her case unique because of her fame and fortune. “But it is also interesting because, in some way, it is quite typical. We see all over the country that people enter guardianships and guardianships that they cannot get out of.”
How do we get here?
In 2008, James Spears, known as Jamie, was granted guardianship after Britney allegedly struggled with mental health issues and was hospitalized. After Britney was released, a Los Angeles court made the guardianship permanent, giving her father and another co-conservator power over her finances and medical decisions.
Jamie argues that his guardianship is working. Under his order, her legal team says, Britney’s estate has gone from being in debt to being valued at more than $ 60 million.
In November 2020, her legal team said Jamie has worked hard to restore Britney to “good health, reunite her with her children and revive her career.”
“Throughout his service as a Conservative, Mr. Spear’s sole motivation has been his unconditional love for his daughter and a fierce desire to protect her from those who try to take advantage of her,” wrote Jamie’s legal team. “She wants her daughter to be happy, healthy, protected and prosperous. Her love for Britney is a material factor in how she has been able to change her heritage from being in the red to what she is now.”
Why does Britney want to go out?
In August 2020, the pop star’s court-appointed attorney said Britney “strongly opposed” her father’s position as the sole conservator of her estate and asked the court to limit her control. Her attorney, Samuel D. Ingham III, said Britney “strongly prefers to have a qualified corporate trustee in office” and has made several attempts to do so.
Britney requested that Jamie’s temporary surrogate, Jodi Montgomery, be appointed permanent guardian of her person. Montgomery, a professionally licensed conservator, temporarily took over in 2019 when Jamie volunteered to briefly resign, citing health reasons.
In November last year, a judge granted the singer’s wish to appoint an outside financial group, the Bessemer Trust, as co-curator. She is still petitioning the court to remove her father and allow the Bessemer Trust to become the sole conservator of her estate, something that Jamie and her legal team have continued to fight, arguing that her powers had been stripped away.
In court, Ingram reportedly called Britney a “high-functioning ward” who deserves to know what action her father might be taking on her estate. He also said that his client “is afraid of his father” and that he had not spoken to him for a long time.
On February 3, the singer’s attorney said it “would be very damaging to Britney’s interests” to allow her father to be the sole person in charge of her estate.
Attorneys for Britney and Jamie Spears did not immediately respond to CBS News’ request for comment.
Brennan-Krohn, who works with the ACLU’s Disabilities Rights Program, said there are certain risks that could come with the appointment, including “financial, physical and emotional abuse.”
“Even when there is no abuse, guardianships limit a person’s ability to advocate for himself, learn from his decisions and mistakes, and grow and develop. There is a risk that he will be told that his opinions, likes and dislikes, are not matter – it makes it harder to deal with abuse or neglect, “he said.
“In any conservatorship, we would like to know that the real risks (and benefits) of both conservatorship and its alternatives have been seriously weighed.”
What has Britney said about the case?
Britney has kept quiet during the legal battle, speaking only through her legal team and making subtle comments throughout the years.
The Times series reproduces a clip from the MTV documentary “Britney: For The Record,” where Britney spoke about the limits of her personal freedom. It is not clear whether he was speaking directly to the conservatorship.
“If I wasn’t under the restrictions that I’m under now, you know, with all the lawyers and doctors and people analyzing me every day and all that kind of stuff, if that wasn’t there, I’d feel so liberated and I feel like myself. I’m kind of stuck in this place, and it’s like, how do you cope? I just get through it every day, “she told the interviewer. “When I tell them what I feel, it’s like they’re listening to me, but they’re not really listening. They’re listening to what they want to hear. They’re not listening to what I’m saying. It’s bad … I’m sad.”
When asked if her life was out of control, she disagreed, saying, “It’s too under control. There is no emotion. There is no passion. It’s like ‘Groundhog Day’, every day.”
On Tuesday, Britney tweeted a video of her performing her song “Toxic”, along with the message: I will always love being on stage … but I’m taking the time to learn and be a normal person … love just enjoy of the basics of daily life. “
In a separate tweet, he wrote: “Each person has their story and their take on other people’s stories! We all have many different, bright and beautiful lives. Remember, no matter what we think we know about a person’s life, it’s nothing compared to the real person who lives behind the lens. “
Earlier Tuesday, her boyfriend, Sam Asghari, criticized the singer’s father on Instagram. “Now it’s important for people to understand that I have no respect for someone who tries to control our relationship and constantly throws obstacles at us. In my opinion, Jamie is a complete jerk.”
The 27-year-old added: “I will not go into details because I have always respected our privacy, but at the same time, I did not come to this country not to be able to express my opinion and my freedom.” “
What is #FreeBritney?
Many of Britney’s fans have organized protests outside the Los Angeles courthouse, where hearings are being held on the status of the case. There is even a podcast, Britney’s Gram, which is dedicated to analyzing her posts on Instagram and social media. Her fans have used the hashtag #FreeBritney to draw attention to her legal battle against her father.
In September of last year, Britney’s legal team recognized fans after their legal battle.
“At this point in her life, when she is trying to regain some personal autonomy, Britney appreciates and appreciates the informed support of her many fans,” her attorney said in opposition to her father’s attempts to seal information from the public. “Although the motion to seal is supposedly for her ‘protection’, Britney herself vehemently opposes this effort by her father to keep their legal fight hidden in the closet as a family secret.”
“In this case, it is not an exaggeration to say that everyone is watching.”
This article was originally published on CBSNews.com on February 10, 2021.