Fans Want to #FreeBritney Once and For All
Britney Spears's song "Overprotected" may be art imitating life. According to theLos Angeles Times, Spears's fans are calling for the pop superstar to finally take control of her life again. Back in May, many of Spears's most die-hard supporters picketed outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles when decisions were being made in regards to her conservatorship — and it's all going down again. While fans have always been vocal, new complications in Spears's situation and have brought more issues to light, such as her father's level of involvement and whether or not she is capable of handling herself and her finances now.
"Don't believe everything you read and hear," she captioned an Instagram post just a few weeks before the court appearance. "Your love and dedication is amazing, but what I need right now is a little bit of privacy to deal with all the hard things that life is throwing my way."
Earlier this year, Britney's Gram, a podcast that follows Spears's social media posts, received a voicemail that was allegedly from a paralegal that worked on her conservatorship. The message stated that Spears's father, Jamie, was involved with the singer's canceled Las Vegas residency. While the Times couldn't verify the credibility of the message, the podcast hosts claimed that they did and that the paralegal's claims of Spears's compromised autonomy were legitimate.
Spears's mental health has been a subject of controversy dating back to 2008, when she was committed to a psychiatric ward, known as a 5150 hold, twice. After the second instance, her father petitioned courts for an emergency "temporary conservatorship." By the end of the year, the conservatorship was permanent and Spears no longer controlled her finances. Fans gathered outside a Los Angeles courthouse today to show their support and insist that Spears is ready to break free now that her case is up for review.
The court appearance renewed interest in the #FreeBritney movement. Last time, fans were told to clear the courtroom at the hearing and media was also ushered out. At her last review, Spears's manager, Larry Rudolph, told TMZ that Spears would probably never perform again. Even celebrities rallied around the initiaive. Miley Cyrus yelled, "Free Britney!" at one of her concerts. Today, however, things seemed more tame as protestors stayed outside of the courthouse.
Spears has been sharing plenty of peeks into her private life on Instagram, though fans aren't comforted by the seemingly domestic bliss she's presenting. Many just see it as a façade put up to assuage critics.
Legal expert Adam Streisand explained to the Times that a conservatorship wouldn't be kept in place if there wasn't a good reason for it.
"The fact that she’s been under conservatorship for a dozen years should tell you something about the state of her mental impairment and her vulnerability," Streisand said. "The courts will do everything they can to ensure that a person is not conserved unless they really, really need to be."
The newspaper adds that back in 2008, "Spears may have been a danger to herself and her children," but it's up to the courts to determine whether or not things have improved, not public opinion.
Pop culture researcher Marc Brennan explains that many fans feel a very close connection to Spears and that her unique situation makes for constant fascination.
"Here we have a 37-year-old woman strong enough to be in the public eye and perform," he said. "But is supposedly not strong enough to look after her own children and her money."
Until courts decide otherwise, it seems that Spears will remain overprotected.