NY Times Documentary Exposes #FreeBrittany Truth

By Tatiana Torres

Social media has been filled with #FreeBritney and #wearesorrybritney tweets and posts for the last couple of days. 

The New York Times explores the unseen side of the pop star’s court battle with her father, Jamie Spears, for control of her estate in their new documentary, Framing Britney Spears. This documentary shows an inside look at Spears’s rise to fame, how the media wronged her and the legal battle with her father. 

Britney Spears has been in a court ordered conservatorship for the last 13 years. 

Jamie Spears has controlled her career and estate since 2008, something she’s been actively fighting against for years.

The Supreme Court of California defines conservatorship as a court case where a judge grants a guardian full control over an individual’s finances if that person is physically or mentally unable to maintain them on their own.

This is exactly what is happening in Spears’s life. 

In Framing Britney Spears, the viewer also gets a glimpse of the misogynistic behaviors that the teen pop star sensation had to endure while growing up in the spotlight. 

As I watched the interviews that show Spears as a young girl and the middle aged male interviewers asking her about her boyfriends and commenting on her body, I knew this was going to be an impactful documentary. And it was. 

The film showcases how the media would ridicule, judge and criticize Britney Spears and how at a certain point, she snapped. 

During the documentary, the viewer gets clips and information about Spears’ relationship with Justin Timberlake. Their breakup multiplied the amount of judgment, hate and aggression towards Spears. They blamed her for ending the relationship, alleging that she had been unfaithful to him.

Her public life, mental health and other struggles became excruciatingly public. The documentary showed when in 2007, Spears shaved her head, reportedly saying she was tired of people touching her. 

Fans and supporters of Spears have been using the slogan #FreeBritney as a way to show their support of Spears’s battle to remove her father from the conservatorship. This movement hopes social media pressure and protests will convince the courts to release Spears from her conservatorship. 

In November, Spears’ court-appointed lawyer said she will not perform again as long as her father remains in the conservatorship role, The New York Times reported. Spears has expressed how she is afraid of her father. 

This was hard to watch. To see how unfairly and how cruelly Britney Spears was treated and is continued to be treated is maddening. A woman who has worked so hard for her family, estate, and for her fans shouldn’t be subject to another person making decisions about her life. She has come such a long way despite the media’s misogynistic behaviors wanting to keep her down.

Spears has been on a long, slow process towards mental health and emotional recovery and is more than capable of making her own decisions without her father stepping in. 

Spears’ struggle over her money and who controls it is one that changes daily. According to NBC News, on Thursday, Feb. 11, Jamie Spears lost the battle to keep control of delegating her investments. This means that he will need to work with financial firm Bessemer Trust, which was given co-conservator powers along with Spears in 2020. 

The New York Times reached out to Britney and her family to comment for the documentary, but they didn’t answer. 
The New York Times Presents Framing Britney Spears is now available on FX and FX on Hulu.

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