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For those that have been following what has been going on in the life of Britney Spears, the new documentary, Controlling Britney Spears, by the New York Times, will offer some new insight on how oppressive the conservatorship truly is. According to BBC, a conservatorship is “granted by a court for individuals who are unable to make their own decisions, like those with dementia or other mental illnesses.” The conservatorship was put in place “in 2008 when she faced a public mental health crisis.” However, as years have passed, Britney has shown that she is in a much better place now, yet the conservatorship is still in place, which essentially takes away her freedom and decision-making rights. Spears has come out by saying that not only has the conservatorship been oppressive itself, but her father, Jamie Spears, who is the conservator, has been the main reason for this. According to the New York Times, “as early as 2014, in a hearing closed to the public, Ms.Spears court-appointed lawyer, Samuel D Ingham III, said she wanted to explore removing her father as conservator.” One main reason for this is that Spears believes that her father has a drinking problem, as well as other issues that prohibit him from being an effective conservator. 

The New York Times came out with a documentary last year that helped to shed light on how Britney Spears’ came to be in the conservatorship and how it had affected her life. However, this documentary has been eye-opening in understanding the true details of what this conservatorship actually looked like for Spears. In the summer, Spears had her first opportunity ever to reveal how truly oppressive and controlling the conservatorship had been on her life. According to the New York Times, following that “key insiders have come forward to talk publicly for the first time about what they saw.” This documentary focuses on the experiences that people close to Spears had with working with her, as well as her father,  while she was under this conservatorship. Every person that is featured in the documentary has worked with Britney in some capacity, and has seen how both Jamie and the conservatorship have been an oppressive force on her life. In one scene of the documentary her former assistant who was very close with Spears, describes how she always supported and advocated for her, which Jamie and the team did not like. This resulted in the team working to turn Spears and her former assistant against one another. This is just one example of many, of how controlling Jamie has been to not only  Britney, but also the team as a whole, to continue to reinforce his power over her. 

One employee who worked for Britney’s security team for years, came out with discussing his experience in working with the Spears. According to the New York Times, Jamie instructed the security team to “run an intense surveillance apparatus that monitored her communications and secretly captured audio recordings from her bedroom, including her interactions and conversations with her boyfriend and children.” The former employee, Alex Vlasov, discusses in the documentary how he felt uncomfortable with having to do this, as it was a complete invasion of her privacy. According to the New York Times, he felt that “it really reminded me of somebody that was in prison. And security was put in a position to be the prison guards essentially.” This new documentary has been imperative to shedding light on what the conservatorship was truly like for Spears. 

Following the release of the documentary, Spears had a court hearing on September 27th, which was a win for the Free Britney movement. According to NPR, “at Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday afternoon, Judge Brenda J. Penny decided to suspend Jamie Spears as the conservator of his daughter’s estate.” This removes her father as conservator, which is a major step in the right direction to freeing Britney from her extremely controlling conservatorship. This does not completely free her for the time being as “John Zabel, a certified public accountant, will step into that role for now.” However, he is only serving as the conservator temporarily, until she has her next hearing. According to NPR, her next hearing is “ scheduled for Nov. 12. At that point, the judge plans to terminate the conservatorship — freeing the 39-year-old star.” After a thirteen-year battle, Britney will (hopefully) finally be free from her controlling conservatorship. For those that have not seen the documentary yet, make sure to go watch it on Hulu. 


Nicole Idelson

Providence '22

Nicole Idelson is a Social Work major at Providence College. On campus, she is also a part of The Mental Health Awareness Board and Best Buddies. She has been involved in HerCampus since her freshman year at Providence College, and absolutely loves the club. Nicole also enjoys traveling, hanging out with friends, and eating avocado toast.
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