In the Farrow/Tolentino article, once more we see the messy handlings and wrongdoings of Britney Spears’ conservatorship. Spears’ conservatorship has been extended to September 2021 and on the June 23rd court hearings it has been alleged that Spears called 911 to report an abuse on herself by her conservatorship. The local county (Ventura) has cited an ongoing investigation and has sealed the records of Spears’ call.
The emergency call sparked nervousness from Spears’ team on what Spears would say the next day (June 23, the court hearings). For fear that Spears would go rogue, and on the day of the court hearings, an attorney from the conservatorship allegedly asked the judge to clear the court and seal Spears’ testimony. Spears objected, “somebody’s done a good job at exploiting my life,” she said, “I feel like it should be an open-court hearing-they should listen and hear what I have to say.”
Spears did manage to speak in court for the first time in her long battle over her conservatorship. In court, she alleged how she doesn’t have any access to her life; any chance of normalcy. That she allegedly cannot see anyone without the approval of those in charge of her conservatorship, usually her father, Jamie Spears.
Jamie Spears has allegedly been abusive and manipulative over this conservatorship, with close friends to Britney Spears stating incidents of her father’s neglect and abuse. Jacqueline Butcher, a friend of Spears’ family, recounts several times where she alleged Jamie was not only abusive to Britney, but to her mother Lynne Spears as well. A housekeeper who was close to Britney Spears also recounts how Spears was not only an excellent mother to her children, but once the conservatorship took over, and Spears’ father was in her life – where allegedly it became very controlling.
Senior Director For Law and Policy at a center for disability rights at Syracuse University, Jonathan Martinis stated that one of the most dangerous aspects of guardianships (conservatorships) is the way they prevent people from seeking legal council, as Spears has allegedly attempted several times to obtain a lawyer for her representation but was rejected. The first, because a judge ruled that Spears had no capacity to retain an attorney, and the second time because “Britney [Spears] lacked the capacity to hire Mr. Eardley [her second lawyer] to file the Notice of Removal on her behalf, and therefore could not have hired him,” an argument made by the lawyers on the side of conservatorship.
“The rights at stake in guardianship are analogous to the rights at stake in criminal cases. Britney could have been found holding an axe and a severed head, saying ‘I did it,’ and she still would’ve had the right to an attorney. So, under guardianship, you don’t have the same rights as an axe murderer,” stated Martinis.
In 2009, Spears fan Jordan Miller who maintained a Spears-based website was first to bring up Spears’ unsettling conservatorship to the forefront. Jamie Spears allegedly threatened Miller with an angry phone call, a letter and a threat to sue, but Miller maintained his site. Eventually, fans began to push for the #FreeBritney movement, including finding some conspiracy in Spears’ social media accounts. In 2019, The Times began to report Spears probate-court investigation. That Spears was complaining she felt oppressed, controlled against her will, and sick of being taken advantage of. In 2019, Spears cancelled her upcoming tour due to her father’s ill health though fans suspected there was more than meets the eye.
At the hearing in June, Spears described that she was allegedly forced to do tours she didn’t particularly want to do, and that her team and management spoke to her therapist about how Spears wasn’t cooperating. The therapist allegedly gave her lithium as a means to subdue and control Spears. Spears failed her ‘psych test’ during the holidays and was taken into rehab. At this facility, Spears allegedly continued to be threatened to do the work otherwise she wouldn’t be able to see her boyfriend or children.
The conservatorship still runs the risk of being self-reinforcing. That if Spears should win her legal battle, then the world will be watching her very closely to see if she ‘slips up’. “Our mistakes make us who we are, and teach us who we can be. Without bad choices, we can’t be wholly human. And with the best of intentions, we say to people with disabilities: we’ll keep you from ever making a mistake. Should Britney get out, just watch. The first mistake she makes, fingers will wag, and people will say this would never have happened if she were under guardianship,” Martinis spoke.
“There’s this concept of the dignity of risk. Most of us have a very wide range of bad choices we can make that society is okay with, but, in a conservatorship, you’re subject to the decision-making rubric of best interest. And it’s possible we’d all be better off if someone was making decisions for us like that, but those are not the values of the society we live in,” said Zoë Brennan-Krohn, a disability-rights attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union.
You can follow more of the court’s hearing through previous mxdwn reporting, including when Spears alleged that she cannot take out her IUD. Bessemer Trust withdrawing from the conservatorship. Los Angeles Court denying Spears’ motion to remove her father from the conservatorship, and Jamie Spears asking the court to investigate claims Spears made against him.