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#FreeBritney

#FreeBritney
EN graphic by Erika Sour.

By Jules Bustamante

Contributing Writer

Popstar Britney Spears has been in a legal battle over her rights for more than 10 years.

With her conservatorship being extended into 2021, concerned fans made the #FreeBritney movement go viral.

The singer of the pop classic “Toxic” was deemed unable to care for herself after her infamous mental breakdowns in 2008.

According to an article by The New York Times published that year, she was placed under conservatorship with her father, James “Jamie” Spears, as her legal guardian.

For the last decade, Jamie has had complete control over Britney’s relationships and career decisions until he temporarily stepped down in 2019 due to health concerns. Jodi Montgomery took over as Britney’s conservator.

Many fans believe that Britney’s father is controlling her against her will.

A change.org petition named #FreeBritney currently has over 100,000 signatures to release Britney from her conservatorship.

“Her father doesn’t allow her to drive, all of her calls & messages are monitored, she’s not allowed to vote, hang with anyone or spend her money without permission,” the creator of the petition, Kody A., wrote in its description.

Britney’s Instagram page is flooded with comments of fans begging her to signal through her posts that she needs help.

Even celebrities like Cher and Miley Cyrus have called for Britney’s freedom from her conservatorship.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Britney’s attorney claimed that the popstar’s conservatorship was voluntary, but she did not want her father to return as her guardian.

While fans understand Britney’s history of mental health issues, they also believe that she should have a say in who gets to control her career and assets.

“Britney seems like she can’t take care of herself, regarding her public breakdowns,” FGCU junior, Ashana Etzweller said. “I can understand why her family could be trying to help her. Still, she is a grown woman and should have control over her life.”

Even mental health professionals question why her father was her conservator for almost a decade.

“As an attorney who specializes in helping families whose loved ones have serious mental health issues, I usually discourage family members from serving as conservators/guardians,” Carolyn Reinach Wolf wrote in Psychology Today. “By the time they’ve sought my help, they’ve often long served as caretakers to the detriment of their own mental health and family cohesiveness.”

According to Wolf, it would make more sense for Britney’s family to have hired an independent conservator since they can afford to do so.

In an interview with the New York Post in August, Jamie denied the rumors that he was exploiting his daughter and making money off her estate.

Fans are not buying it. They still want to spread awareness of Britney’s situation in hopes that she can eventually control some aspects of her life again.

Etzweller said, “Britney Spears is iconic and a household name. Most people know who she is, and I think if more people knew what was going on, they would try to help.”

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