Conor Kelly, Staff Writer

If you’re not aware or basically living under a rock, for the past 12 years, pop star and meme Queen Britney Spears has been under a legal conservatorship. For those who don’t know, a conservatorship basically gives somebody else legal control over you because you have been deemed incapable of taking care of yourself. In the case of Britney Spears, she can’t spend any large amount of money without first asking her father. She can’t make her own schedule writing music or going to the recording studio, as her dad has to make the schedule for her. Legally, she can’t even post on social media without her dad approving the post. I think in this case Britney’s father lets her use Instagram freely, but legally, she wouldn’t be allowed to… and here’s why. 

When Britney arrived in Hollywood, she very quickly rose to fame. This was because she was the biggest female artist during the time. Keep in mind, it was boyband time, people weren’t interested in hearing girls. They were too busy arguing whether ‘NSYNC or Backstreet Boys had hotter band members. Britney changed that. Unfortunately, she did not know how to handle the fame. She said in many interviews that she wished paparazzi would back off her or just plainly leave her alone. This drove her into a state of fear and anxiety every time she left her house. She started to hang out with Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan, who were both party girls who used a lot of drugs. Britney was essentially spiraling and she couldn’t control herself. She shaved her head as a stunt for paparazzi in hopes they would lose interest in her. Sadly for Britney, they did not.

In 2008, when Britney shaved her head and vandalized the car of a paparazzi, she was required to go under psychiatric evaluation. The official results of the tests were never released to the public, but we can assume most of what it said. Jamie Spears filed for a temporary conservatorship over his daughter after the testing. Courts take conservatorships very seriously because they were designed to be used for elderly people who cannot do things by themselves, disabled, or severely mentally ill people who need somebody else to handle their affairs. Conservatorships essentially give a third party control of your human rights.

After a long needed break, Britney started working again. She did a residency in Las Vegas at a hotel, performing every single night. This raised many questions because performing every night for that long could affect anybody’s mental or physical health. For Britney to need a conservator, but be performing every night as she was, didn’t add up. People started to investigate her mental health and it came out that Britney was fighting against her father as her conservator from day one. This sparked a social media movement that would soon reach the entire nation. 

The name of this social media movement is #freebritney, whose sole purpose is trying to free Britney from her conservatorship. Many supporters like myself believe that Britney has left hidden messages in her Instagram posts over the past year and a half or so, trying to get people on the outside to help her get away from Jamie (her father). Supporters of the movement have started podcasts informing others of the situation, protested outside courthouses, and written letters to many different people to raise awareness of Britney’s situation and her state of fear of her father. Even other celebrities have joined this movement like Lucy Hale who posted on Instagram explaining that Britney was her idol growing up and it hurts her to see Britney like this. I decided to talk to some people in school who are as passionate about trying to get Britney the freedom she deserves as much as I am. 

Ms. Horvath, who is my Sports and Entertainment Marketing teacher, loves Britney Spears. I sat down to talk with her because I see her as somewhat of a Britney expert. I asked her if she could share her opinion on the conservatorship as a whole. Was it necessary back then? Is it necessary now? She believes that Britney’s conservatorship was necessary back in 2008 when she was spiraling out of control and struggling with her mental health, but she is torn as to whether it should still be in effect. Ms. Horvath feels this way because Britney has shown improvement in her mental health and seems happier overall that she did 12 years ago.  I did not even need to finish my question about Jamie Spears before she gave me her answer. She quickly stated that Jamie should absolutely not be in charge of Britney’s personal affairs, especially because Britney has come out and said on numerous accounts that she is afraid of her father and she does not want him as her conservator. She has fought against the conservatorship before, but now it is a matter of getting her father out of the picture. As much as Ms. Horvath would love if Jamie was removed from the conservatorship, she does not think he would ever step down and she doesn’t believe that that conservatorship will end either. Jamie is making a lot of money off of Britney, and we both believe he would not step down because of that and he would also keep the conservatorship going even after it is needed so that he can continue making money from her.

Mr. Kimble has also been following Britney’s situation for a long time. He feels that the conservatorship violates basic human rights, and by law it does in fact give somebody else control of you. He says that Britney is an adult, and she needs to deal with her problems and face her consequences without her father, in order to learn how to be an adult. Mr.Kimble also expressed concern about her music. He thinks it is likely that Britney is being censored because of the conservatorship. He said, “No artist should ever be censored because they’re telling their own story and nobody has the right to tell them how.” I think that he brought up a good point; Britney may be censored by her father or his lawyers or even her own lawyers. This theory isn’t that far fetched considering Taylor Swift is re-recording her first six albums (Debut, Fearless, Speak Now, Red, 1989, and Reputation), because she claims that Big Machine Records was censoring her as a kid and into young adulthood. She has said on Twitter that she wants to tell her own story this time and tell the whole story. 

Recently after the documentary, there has been a third party conservator added to Britney’s case. This was because there was a lot of attention drawn to Britney recently, and the court needed someone to evaluate Britney’s relationship with her dad and see if change is needed. Personally, I hope that the court can decide Jamie is unfit to be Britney’s conservator, or that the conservatorship is no longer needed.

It has made me very happy to see so many people want Britney to break away from her father. Many celebrities have even joined the movement such as Miley Cyrus, who during her Super Bowl performance said she loves Britney and only wants to see the best for her as an artist and as a person. Charlie Puth is another supporter or Britney who tweeted, “Britney Spears’ music was my first exposure to pop music. Her impact was/is profound and it always baffled me as to why people were so brutal to her when she was down. It’s great the world is more sensitive to mental health now, but upsetting it took this long in Britney’s case.”

I think I’ve made my point. So many people want to see Britney freed from her fathers tight grasp around her and the conservatorship. If myself, Lucy Hale, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, or Charlie Puth haven’t convinced you to join the movement, I hope you will go watch the New York Times Presents documentary focusing on Britney to form your own opinion.