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#FreeBritney Movement: A Look at Britney Spears’ Legal Dilemma

Twitter has begun the “#FreeBritney” hashtag that alludes to pop sensation Britney Spears after a post on a fan-created website “Breath Heavy”. The hashtag, coined days after the announcement of her conservatorship in 2008, claims that the legal agreement is a detriment to Spears’ overall health and well-being.

Angsty fans have been theorizing that Spears had been incarcerated by a legal conservatorship for over a decade, until the theory was proven true. A legal conservatorship is a contractual relationship in which one individual presides over the financial assets and estate of another — usually a child or family member who is gravely ill, elderly or disabled.

The legal conservatorship was instituted after Spears’ infamous mental breakdowns, lasting from 2007 to 2008, which included frequent rehab visits, and incidents of head-shaving and an assault to a paparazzi vehicle with an umbrella. As a result, Spears’ father, James Spears, gained financial custody of Britney’s estate and other assets during that time. It was meant to be temporary, but in February 2009, the conversatorship became permanent. 

Fans have spent the last 10 years protesting in front of courthouses with signs that read, “The Truth Will Set Her Free” and wearing custom T-shirts in support of Britney. They have also posted angry tweets asking for Spears’ freedom, which would result in restoring her autonomy over her estate as well as any control over any other relevant financial decisions. In 2019, a change.org petition was created that reached approximately 300,000 signatures in favor of the removal of Britney Spears’ father as the conservator. 

In recent months, many have taken to Instagram to post seemingly-innocuous comments on Spears’ posts as a way to confirm the pop star’s support for the Movement. One comment read, “wear a yellow shirt in your next video if you need help.” Subsequently after this comment, Spears posted a video in a yellow shirt which was interpreted as a call for help. Another fan commented, “post doves if you’re in trouble.” Shortly after, Spears posted a photo containing a dove which spurred uproar in fans. After each supposed confirmation, fans have begun fighting harder for Spears’ freedom. Although Spears neither outwardly confirmed nor denied her approval of the #FreeBritney movement fans are convinced that her posts prove otherwise. 

In August of this year, Spears presented a special request to a California judge asking for permission to radically alter and modify the conservatorship agreement. According to the New York Times, a judge ruled that the agreement will remain intact until February 1, 2021. In the meantime, Los Angeles Judge Brenda Penny, granted a hearing for Spears’ case for October 14, 2020. Additionally, reports have surfaced that Jaime Lynn Spears, Britney’s younger sister, was secretly named a trustee to the pop star’s estate in 2018. Jaime Lynn’s role as a trustee would entail administering Spear’s finances after her death, ensuring that Britney’s two sons receive those monetary benefits, if the reports proved true.

The American Civil Liberties Union also expressed their support toward the pop star tweeting, “If Britney Spears wants to regain her civil liberties and get out of her conservatorship, we are here to help her.”

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