A street protest calling for Britney Spears to be freed from her conservatorship

#FREEBRITNEY

For years, fans of Britney Spears have used the hashtag to call out what they see as an exploitative relationship between her and her father.

What happened to Britney? And what lessons can you learn from her situation?

What Happened

In 2008, after Britney went through a very public custody battle with her ex-husband, people became concerned about her mental health.

Her father, Jamie Spears, argued in court that Britney wasn't in the right condition to take care of herself, her kids, or her career.

The court agreed to make Jamie and his associates Britney's conservators, allowing them to directly manage:

  • her person — what she can do

  • her estate — what she owns

Britney is now in a legal battle to end the conservatorship.

What It Means For Britney

Britney's conservators make decisions about every part of her life:

  • her money

  • her family

  • her access to medical care

  • her career moves

When Britney was making as much as a million dollars a week from her live shows in Las Vegas, her conservators took a 1.5% cut for themselves, and even asked the court for a raise!

Quiz

What decisions can Britney make without her conservator's approval?

when she can go to the hospital

what she posts on her Instagram

how much money she earns

who she can marry

Why It's Concerning

Britney's fans think she's being exploited by her conservators for financial gain, and her celebrity friends like Paris Hilton agree.

Rally Freebritney GIF by GIPHY News

Usually, conservators are only appointed to people with severe health conditions or advanced age.

But Britney is still young, and it's not clear that she has a debilitating condition of any kind, so it raises questions:

  • Are her conservators profiting from her career?

  • Can she trust that her conservators are looking out for her best interests?

  • Does Britney even need a conservator?

What You Can Learn From #FREEBRITNEY

A person saying,

Someone you know could be in an exploitative relationship.

Do these situations sound familiar?

  • A talented athlete at your school is pushed to extremes by their coach

  • A friend of yours has a controlling partner

  • Your elderly family member is being mistreated by a caregiver

These are all cases where someone abuses their power over another person. It's an injustice that makes victims out of celebrities and ordinary people alike.

What To Do About It

A person telling their friend,

It can be risky to get involved in someone else's personal life. It's hard to know exactly what's happening behind closed doors, so be cautious and don't jump to conclusions.

But if the person is crying out for help by dropping subtle hints or openly saying they're being controlled by someone else, then it might be time to step in if it's safe to do so:

  • Reach out to the person and tell them you're concerned about their relationship

  • Listen to what they have to say and offer to help them

  • If you think the person is in danger, contact the appropriate authorities

Take Action

A pro-Britney activist at a rally, saying

As Britney and her supporters continue to fight for her conservatorship to end, reflect on people in your life who might be going through an exploitative relationship.

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This Byte has been authored by

SB

Steve Birek

Virtual Facilitator