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Britney Spears: Freed or still fighting?

The day has finally come. 

On Sept. 7, NBC News broke the story that Britney Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, has petitioned the court to end her 13-year conservatorship.

Until this point, I was wary of the possibility that her conservatorship would ever come to an end. 

Since 2008, Britney Spears, now 39, has been under a probate conservatorship that doesn’t allow her to make any decisions about her finances, vote, drive a car, get married or much else.

It was put in place by Spears’ father after the public breakdown that Spears went through in 2007.

Even after her explosive testimony in court on June 23 that outlined the abuse she had gone through by her conservators, including being forced to have an IUD, making artists sign NDAs before they work with her and being forced to continue performing at her Las Vegas residency, the judge still chose to keep her father on as conservator.

Doctors forced her to take lithium. 

She wasn’t even allowed to change her clothes by herself. 

I’ve been following this story for a while. I wrote my first #FreeBritney column for The Miami Student back in November 2019 when the movement was first forming. 

Back then, I felt like I was shouting from the rooftops to get people to pay attention to this gross abuse of power over someone who was paying for mistakes she made in her 20s.

Then, the New York Times released its documentary “Framing Britney Spears” in February of this year (which I did a podcast about), and it became mainstream news. The Times also obtained court documents showing that Britney had been silently pushing for the conservatorship to end for years.

While Spears was singing for us to dance until the world ends, her world as she knew it was in upheaval.

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How could something like this happen? Why is she being punished? 

This is a situation that would never happen to a man. It is pure and blatant sexism that is protected by the law.

Once Britney got to hire her own lawyer for the first time in 13 years, I was even more excited. 

Under a conservatorship, Spears is deemed mentally incapable to hire her own counsel, so this was the biggest stride in the #FreeBritney campaign thus far.

But I was also trying to contain my excitement. 

Judge Brenda Penny has been very uneven in her rulings. She allowed Britney’s court-appointed advocate, Sam Ingham, to step down in early 2020. After Britney’s testimony on June 23, Penny allowed the Bessemer Trust, the firm tasked with handling Britney’s finances, to step down as well. 

But, Judge Penny hasn’t ruled definitively on whether to remove Jamie Spears as his daughter’s conservator.

At the end of the day, this is a human rights issue. 

Someone’s entire existence has been signed away. 

Jamie Spears petitioning to end this conservatorship has nothing to do with his daughter’s well-being and everything to do with the fact that he does not want to testify about the absolutely horrid behavior he subjected his daughter to. 

Netflix’s new documentary “Britney vs. Spears”, was released on Sept. 28. I’m hoping there’s new information and not just a rehash of what's already been circulating the internet for more than two years. 

Still, one glimmer of good news came out amongst the chaos.

Britney recently announced her engagement to her longtime boyfriend, Sam Ashgari, and hopefully this will be the beginning of the next chapter of her life.  

One that she will control.

@kwiatkdm 

kwiatkdm@miamioh.edu 



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