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VULTURE: The #FreeBritney Movement Didn’t Just Explode Overnight

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7
Spoiler

On April 22, a swarm of protesters clustered outside of West Hollywood’s City Hall, holding homemade posters with messages like “In Godney We Trust” and “Overprotected Must End!” It was the real-life manifestation of the #FreeBritney movement, an online campaign unofficially started by fan site Breathe Heavy in 2009 under the belief that Britney Spears, the pop star who has scaled the heights and scraped the lows for over 20 years, was being unfairly controlled under a court-ordered conservatorship instituted nearly a dozen years ago following a period of erratic behavior. By 7 p.m., some protesters had moved down the street, where, at Bleu Nails on Santa Monica Boulevard, one patron said they screamed through the windows, “You can get manicures, but Britney can’t without her father’s permission!”

To an outsider observer, the protest may have seemed sudden and reactionary. But if you’ve been following #FreeBritney, it was the natural evolution of a movement that has been simmering for a decade. Ever since Spears made nearly daily headlines for actions that were deemed troubling, like shaving her head and attacking a car with an umbrella, members of the Britney Army have internally rattled around the notion that Spears has become a voiceless victim of a team of lawyers and managers — and, in particular, her dad Jamie Spears, who has been in charge of her finances, business, medication, and just about everything in her life since February 2008 under the conservatorship as her legal guardian — who are not acting out of her best interest. The movement has scrutinized everything from paparazzi photos to Instagram posts, searching for any sign that might indicate Spears is crying out for help and no longer wants to be under the conservatorship.

Over the past month, amid the cancellation of Spears’s Las Vegas residency, her unusual activity on social media, and her recent institutionalization at a mental facility, fans have become increasingly suspicious. And this week, they received what they saw as their biggest clue yet after reports from anonymous sources began to circulate alleging that Spears is seeking some freedom from the conservatorship. During a court hearing that was closed to the media last Friday, and attended by Spears and her parents, the judge ordered an expert to evaluate the conservatorship.

Spears’s conservatorship first began after a second trip to a mental facility in 2008, when her father made a motion to help her get her children back (she’d lost custody after the aforementioned period of unusual behavior) by persuading her to let him handle her affairs. Along with attorney Andrew Wallet, they filed for conservatorship while she was in the hospital and were granted the motion. In November 2008, MTV aired the documentary Britney: For the Record, which many #FreeBritney fans point to as proof that she has always wanted out. “There’s no excitement, there’s no passion,” she says in the doc when asked if her life feels out of control. “Even when you go to jail, you know there’s the time when you’re gonna get out. But in this situation, it’s never-ending. It’s just like Groundhog Day every day.”

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Theories that the conservatorship was placing inhumane restraints on her began to spread. A 2008 Rolling Stone piece reported on a recording between a friend of Spears’s and a lawyer named Jon Eardley, in which Spears can be heard in the background saying, “I basically just want my life back … I want to be able to drive my car. I want to be able to live in my house by myself. I want to be able to say who’s going to be my security guard.” At one point, she took a ride with a paparazzo to visit the office of attorney Adam Streisand to fight the conservatorship. In 2009, Jordan Miller, the webmaster of Breathe Heavy, which began as a Spears fan site in 2004 and has evolved to encompass many other facets of pop culture, claimed he had received a legal notice from Jamie Spears demanding that he close the site or face an injunction for doing things that fan sites do, like posting song lyrics and using “Ms. Spears’ trademarked name.” Miller, who believes the real issue was that he critiqued the conservatorship on the site, said that Jamie threatened him over the phone: “I will destroy your ***,” he allegedly warned.

The #FreeBritney movement didn’t draw the same sort of attention in the years that followed, and Spears didn’t do much to stoke speculation; those in her close-knit circle rarely comment publicly on her affairs. In 2016, a New York Times report claimed that the conservatorship had loosened in some capacity, becoming more like a “bubble” than a “cage.”

At the start of this year, though, the movement was given a splash of fuel. On Instagram, the social-media account Spears uses most frequently, she posted a photo of herself as a child posing with her parents, along with a long caption explaining that she would be canceling her “Britney: Domination” Las Vegas residency, which was set to debut in February. “I’ve been looking forward to this show and seeing all of you this year, so doing this breaks my heart,” she wrote. “However, it’s important to always put your family first … and that’s the decision I had to make.” She explained that her father had recently been hospitalized and almost died, and that she needed time to be with her family. Reps said his colon had ruptured.

What ensued was a series of events, and nonevents, that set off alarms among fans. There was the fact that Spears, who is typically active on social media, went silent soon after her tour announcement. Then, in March, co-conservator Wallet filed a request to the court to have his name removed from the conservatorship, claiming that harm would befall Spears if this were not done. Finally, on April 3, Britney broke her Insta-silence, posting a slogan that read, “Fall in love with taking care of yourself, mind, body, spirit,” and captioning it, “We all need to take time for a little ‘me time.’ :)” (It was unusual, fans said, for Spears to use a smiley face instead of her preferred emoji.) Later that day, TMZ reported that she had checked into a mental facility seven days prior for a 30-day stay.

The discourse reached a fever pitch on April 16, when the podcast Britney’s Gram, hosted by comedians Tess Barker and Babs Gray, aired a voice-mail from an anonymous paralegal who claimed to have worked on Spears’s conservatorship and had left the firm two weeks earlier. “What is happening is disturbing, to say the least,” said the man. The mysterious tipster claimed that Spears had been in rehearsal for “Domination” when she began to refuse to take her medication, prompting her father to pull her from the show and have her instead blame it on his illness. The source also asserted that Spears had been in the mental-health facility since the beginning of the year, against her will, contradicting the TMZ report that she’d voluntarily started treatment only a week before. He also said that she was promised that the conservatorship would come to an end in 2009 after her “Circus” tour but that it didn’t, causing her to have another mental breakdown soon after. (Barker and Gray maintain that they independently vetted the source and found him credible.)

The podcast got close to 100,000 listens on SoundCloud. It was a bombshell revelation for Spears’s fans, who also pointed out that her mother and boyfriend had allegedly begun liking social-media posts tied to #FreeBritney. But another segment of the Britney fan base remained cautious about armchair-diagnosing Spears, reasoning that she might very well be in need of medication and a conservatorship, which had been granted, after all, to help her. Gray counters, “We can’t convince anybody, but we believe that enough things add up that it’s certainly not out of reason that someone would be taking advantage of this woman for her money and that they’ve been doing it for a long time.”

The division between the two camps boils down to one thing: whether you think Spears should still be in a conservatorship. Spears is under what’s defined as a probate conservatorship, which does not allow Jamie to force her into a mental-health facility. The relative freedom granted those under probate conservatorships explains why she was able to take a day or two off during her recent hospitalization to go to the salon and to spend time with her boyfriend, Sam Asghari, on Easter. What makes Spears’s conservatorship unique is that she has continued to fiscally thrive while subject to it. “It’s the only known conservatorship, as long as conservatorships have been around in this country, where someone is worth as much as she is and actively making as much as she is and still under her conservatorship,” explains attorney Tamar Arminak, a family lawyer to Amanda Bynes, who has been under conservatorship since 2014. “It’s absolutely the unicorn of conservatorships.”

“All conservatees,” though, “feel confined,” Arminak continues. “They all feel at some point they don’t need this anymore. ‘I’m doing well enough, I’m 37, I’m 38, I don’t need someone to make these decisions for me.’ But there’s a reason for that. If doctors have found that Britney needs to continue to be on medication to be well, then it’s a problem when a conservatee decides they don’t need to take medication anymore.”

Though Spears has mostly remained silent as the #FreeBritney movement has grown louder, she returned to Instagram the day after the campaign descended on West Hollywood, posting a short video of herself along with an extended caption addressing the situation. “Hi guys! Just checking in with all of you who are concerned about me. All is well,” she wrote. “My family has been going through a lot of stress and anxiety lately, so I just needed time to deal. But don’t worry, I’ll be back very soon.”

The caption went on, “I wanted to say hi, because things that are being said have just gotten out of control!!! Wow!!! There’s rumors, death threats to my family and my team, and just so many things crazy things being said.” (Spears was apparently referring to the backlash that her sister Jamie Lynn Spears had received for defending her on her own social accounts.) “Don’t believe everything you read and hear.” (Some fans believe this was all ghostwritten by someone in management.)

Days after Spears slowed the momentum of the #FreeBritney movement with her Instagram post, she was released from the mental-health facility. Headlines blared, “Britney’s back, *****!,” and fan wars simmered. Spears resumed her Instagram activity with videos of herself doing yoga to Cardi B’s “I Like It” and posing during a photo shoot. Then, after the court hearing on Friday fans once again grew alarmed. In what appeared like an about-face from Spears’s post claiming “all is well,” there were photos of her leaving the courtroom barefoot, and reports suggesting that she was seeking freedom from the conservatorship. Meanwhile, her longtime manager, Larry Rudolph, has conjectured that she may never perform again. An additional hearing is set for September, with the mental-health evaluation pending. Until then, speculation will only intensify.

 

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I thought Britney's grandma had received a worrying voicemail 

Do you guys remember that blind item from August last year?  This permanent A list "singer" is rebelling in one of the only ways she can. She has been refusing to take her medication which has

Her case is a public case in California's public records. Ever since the beginning she has tried according to these official records to fight the conservatorship at least 7 times, but was denied by th

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Lol ... wouldn't it be funny if the people doing the investigation, ordered by the judge, admitted something along the lines like: " We didn't have to do much ... the fans did it for us ... enough evidence were gathered in in less than 5hours reading @emailmypussy's tweets!" 

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9 minutes ago, Pfefferminz said:

VULTURE: The #FreeBritney Movement Didn’t Just Explode Overnight

  Hide contents
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
7
Spoiler

On April 22, a swarm of protesters clustered outside of West Hollywood’s City Hall, holding homemade posters with messages like “In Godney We Trust” and “Overprotected Must End!” It was the real-life manifestation of the #FreeBritney movement, an online campaign unofficially started by fan site Breathe Heavy in 2009 under the belief that Britney Spears, the pop star who has scaled the heights and scraped the lows for over 20 years, was being unfairly controlled under a court-ordered conservatorship instituted nearly a dozen years ago following a period of erratic behavior. By 7 p.m., some protesters had moved down the street, where, at Bleu Nails on Santa Monica Boulevard, one patron said they screamed through the windows, “You can get manicures, but Britney can’t without her father’s permission!”

To an outsider observer, the protest may have seemed sudden and reactionary. But if you’ve been following #FreeBritney, it was the natural evolution of a movement that has been simmering for a decade. Ever since Spears made nearly daily headlines for actions that were deemed troubling, like shaving her head and attacking a car with an umbrella, members of the Britney Army have internally rattled around the notion that Spears has become a voiceless victim of a team of lawyers and managers — and, in particular, her dad Jamie Spears, who has been in charge of her finances, business, medication, and just about everything in her life since February 2008 under the conservatorship as her legal guardian — who are not acting out of her best interest. The movement has scrutinized everything from paparazzi photos to Instagram posts, searching for any sign that might indicate Spears is crying out for help and no longer wants to be under the conservatorship.

Over the past month, amid the cancellation of Spears’s Las Vegas residency, her unusual activity on social media, and her recent institutionalization at a mental facility, fans have become increasingly suspicious. And this week, they received what they saw as their biggest clue yet after reports from anonymous sources began to circulate alleging that Spears is seeking some freedom from the conservatorship. During a court hearing that was closed to the media last Friday, and attended by Spears and her parents, the judge ordered an expert to evaluate the conservatorship.

Spears’s conservatorship first began after a second trip to a mental facility in 2008, when her father made a motion to help her get her children back (she’d lost custody after the aforementioned period of unusual behavior) by persuading her to let him handle her affairs. Along with attorney Andrew Wallet, they filed for conservatorship while she was in the hospital and were granted the motion. In November 2008, MTV aired the documentary Britney: For the Record, which many #FreeBritney fans point to as proof that she has always wanted out. “There’s no excitement, there’s no passion,” she says in the doc when asked if her life feels out of control. “Even when you go to jail, you know there’s the time when you’re gonna get out. But in this situation, it’s never-ending. It’s just like Groundhog Day every day.”

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LEARN MORE »

Theories that the conservatorship was placing inhumane restraints on her began to spread. A 2008 Rolling Stone piece reported on a recording between a friend of Spears’s and a lawyer named Jon Eardley, in which Spears can be heard in the background saying, “I basically just want my life back … I want to be able to drive my car. I want to be able to live in my house by myself. I want to be able to say who’s going to be my security guard.” At one point, she took a ride with a paparazzo to visit the office of attorney Adam Streisand to fight the conservatorship. In 2009, Jordan Miller, the webmaster of Breathe Heavy, which began as a Spears fan site in 2004 and has evolved to encompass many other facets of pop culture, claimed he had received a legal notice from Jamie Spears demanding that he close the site or face an injunction for doing things that fan sites do, like posting song lyrics and using “Ms. Spears’ trademarked name.” Miller, who believes the real issue was that he critiqued the conservatorship on the site, said that Jamie threatened him over the phone: “I will destroy your ***,” he allegedly warned.

The #FreeBritney movement didn’t draw the same sort of attention in the years that followed, and Spears didn’t do much to stoke speculation; those in her close-knit circle rarely comment publicly on her affairs. In 2016, a New York Times report claimed that the conservatorship had loosened in some capacity, becoming more like a “bubble” than a “cage.”

At the start of this year, though, the movement was given a splash of fuel. On Instagram, the social-media account Spears uses most frequently, she posted a photo of herself as a child posing with her parents, along with a long caption explaining that she would be canceling her “Britney: Domination” Las Vegas residency, which was set to debut in February. “I’ve been looking forward to this show and seeing all of you this year, so doing this breaks my heart,” she wrote. “However, it’s important to always put your family first … and that’s the decision I had to make.” She explained that her father had recently been hospitalized and almost died, and that she needed time to be with her family. Reps said his colon had ruptured.

What ensued was a series of events, and nonevents, that set off alarms among fans. There was the fact that Spears, who is typically active on social media, went silent soon after her tour announcement. Then, in March, co-conservator Wallet filed a request to the court to have his name removed from the conservatorship, claiming that harm would befall Spears if this were not done. Finally, on April 3, Britney broke her Insta-silence, posting a slogan that read, “Fall in love with taking care of yourself, mind, body, spirit,” and captioning it, “We all need to take time for a little ‘me time.’ :)” (It was unusual, fans said, for Spears to use a smiley face instead of her preferred emoji.) Later that day, TMZ reported that she had checked into a mental facility seven days prior for a 30-day stay.

The discourse reached a fever pitch on April 16, when the podcast Britney’s Gram, hosted by comedians Tess Barker and Babs Gray, aired a voice-mail from an anonymous paralegal who claimed to have worked on Spears’s conservatorship and had left the firm two weeks earlier. “What is happening is disturbing, to say the least,” said the man. The mysterious tipster claimed that Spears had been in rehearsal for “Domination” when she began to refuse to take her medication, prompting her father to pull her from the show and have her instead blame it on his illness. The source also asserted that Spears had been in the mental-health facility since the beginning of the year, against her will, contradicting the TMZ report that she’d voluntarily started treatment only a week before. He also said that she was promised that the conservatorship would come to an end in 2009 after her “Circus” tour but that it didn’t, causing her to have another mental breakdown soon after. (Barker and Gray maintain that they independently vetted the source and found him credible.)

The podcast got close to 100,000 listens on SoundCloud. It was a bombshell revelation for Spears’s fans, who also pointed out that her mother and boyfriend had allegedly begun liking social-media posts tied to #FreeBritney. But another segment of the Britney fan base remained cautious about armchair-diagnosing Spears, reasoning that she might very well be in need of medication and a conservatorship, which had been granted, after all, to help her. Gray counters, “We can’t convince anybody, but we believe that enough things add up that it’s certainly not out of reason that someone would be taking advantage of this woman for her money and that they’ve been doing it for a long time.”

The division between the two camps boils down to one thing: whether you think Spears should still be in a conservatorship. Spears is under what’s defined as a probate conservatorship, which does not allow Jamie to force her into a mental-health facility. The relative freedom granted those under probate conservatorships explains why she was able to take a day or two off during her recent hospitalization to go to the salon and to spend time with her boyfriend, Sam Asghari, on Easter. What makes Spears’s conservatorship unique is that she has continued to fiscally thrive while subject to it. “It’s the only known conservatorship, as long as conservatorships have been around in this country, where someone is worth as much as she is and actively making as much as she is and still under her conservatorship,” explains attorney Tamar Arminak, a family lawyer to Amanda Bynes, who has been under conservatorship since 2014. “It’s absolutely the unicorn of conservatorships.”

“All conservatees,” though, “feel confined,” Arminak continues. “They all feel at some point they don’t need this anymore. ‘I’m doing well enough, I’m 37, I’m 38, I don’t need someone to make these decisions for me.’ But there’s a reason for that. If doctors have found that Britney needs to continue to be on medication to be well, then it’s a problem when a conservatee decides they don’t need to take medication anymore.”

Though Spears has mostly remained silent as the #FreeBritney movement has grown louder, she returned to Instagram the day after the campaign descended on West Hollywood, posting a short video of herself along with an extended caption addressing the situation. “Hi guys! Just checking in with all of you who are concerned about me. All is well,” she wrote. “My family has been going through a lot of stress and anxiety lately, so I just needed time to deal. But don’t worry, I’ll be back very soon.”

The caption went on, “I wanted to say hi, because things that are being said have just gotten out of control!!! Wow!!! There’s rumors, death threats to my family and my team, and just so many things crazy things being said.” (Spears was apparently referring to the backlash that her sister Jamie Lynn Spears had received for defending her on her own social accounts.) “Don’t believe everything you read and hear.” (Some fans believe this was all ghostwritten by someone in management.)

Days after Spears slowed the momentum of the #FreeBritney movement with her Instagram post, she was released from the mental-health facility. Headlines blared, “Britney’s back, *****!,” and fan wars simmered. Spears resumed her Instagram activity with videos of herself doing yoga to Cardi B’s “I Like It” and posing during a photo shoot. Then, after the court hearing on Friday fans once again grew alarmed. In what appeared like an about-face from Spears’s post claiming “all is well,” there were photos of her leaving the courtroom barefoot, and reports suggesting that she was seeking freedom from the conservatorship. Meanwhile, her longtime manager, Larry Rudolph, has conjectured that she may never perform again. An additional hearing is set for September, with the mental-health evaluation pending. Until then, speculation will only intensify.

 

Omg I actually love this article, it’s objective enough to not tell you what to think but gives you all the information and doesn’t hide anything to fit a certain narrative... I just wanna know who was lurking on Exhale during ColorMeFresh’s original escapades to know what we were saying 

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1 hour ago, Charming.max said:

FINALLY! I really hope britney could take this year to recover and next year make the biggest comeback ever, new manager, new team, new people surrounding her, new label, new album. 

I think it’s best for her to take the year off too, and if she does decide to me an album in the next year or two. I hope it gives her another #1 for her 4th decade as an artist :jj:

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4 minutes ago, Meaner03 said:

I'd suggest Britney to keep that tell all for after cship, she doesn't know how she is gonna find her finances once free she might need that money, and jamie's vultures team of lawyer will try to use anything she might say against her with the support of tmz to paint her as crazy to the GP again

Definitely, if Britney opens up, she will speak about everything, including her mistakes. They can use it against her. Plus, if she saves it for after, it would be an epic way to start a new era with a new persona.

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18 minutes ago, ItShouldBeOffiTunes said:

Omg I actually love this article, it’s objective enough to not tell you what to think but gives you all the information and doesn’t hide anything to fit a certain narrative... I just wanna know who was lurking on Exhale during ColorMeFresh’s original escapades to know what we were saying 

Wait, what? Lol

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3 minutes ago, Mr_Steven_Spears said:

Notice how TMZ have slowed down on news :gerlwat:

Lou and Jamie the only ones left now but I’m sure Lou has something planned but we are ready loucifer :nynod:

She’s kinda f**ked no matter what. I can’t see her coming out of this with her career intact. :hype: She’d be getting it from every angle. She can’t lean on the fake Christian stuff bc of all the controversy surrounding her religious camps, she’s practically demonized by default anyways for claiming to be a Christian. She also represents Mary J Blige who’s currently  going through a messy situation involving the IRS and MJB fans are blaming Lou for mismanaging her money. She worked for Arthur Anderson, a law firm involved in one of the biggest scandals in the history of our country. She’s going down. :evilpatrick: The question is when? :nothavingit:

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15 minutes ago, Meaner03 said:

I'd suggest Britney to keep that tell all for after cship, she doesn't know how she is gonna find her finances once free she might need that money, and jamie's vultures team of lawyer will try to use anything she might say against her with the support of tmz to paint her as crazy to the GP again

Crucify me (ha!) but the (progressive lack of) fluctuation of her net worth is something really weird - not trying to attack sides, but her finances might be in a weird state.

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3 minutes ago, Shrekney said:

She’s kinda f**ked no matter what. I can’t see her coming out of this with her career intact. :hype: She’d be getting it from every angle. She can’t lean on the fake Christian stuff bc of all the controversy surrounding her religious camps, she’s practically demonized by default anyways for claiming to be a Christian. She also represents Mary J Blige who’s currently  going through a messy situation involving the IRS and MJB fans are blaming Lou for mismanaging her money. She worked for Arthur Anderson, a law firm involved in one of the biggest scandals in the history of our country. She’s going down. :evilpatrick: The question is when? :nothavingit:

But nobody in the media is talking about Lou. She’s a power player in the industry. Doesn’t she work for Jennifer Lopez? I don’t even understand that connection because Jennifer is the smartest business woman in the industry, aside from Madonna. She hasn’t had a hit single in a decade and her fanbase is weak, but she’s at every award show front and center looking flawless lmao.

We’ve just got to get her name out there. :schoolingtime:

Gram Girls better get to work on it! Lou is going to be hard to take down :jlostare:

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1 minute ago, colormefresh said:

But nobody in the media is talking about Lou. She’s a power player in the industry. Doesn’t she work for Jennifer Lopez? I don’t even understand that connection because Jennifer is the smartest business woman in the industry, aside from Madonna. She hasn’t had a hit single in a decade and her fanbase is weak, but she’s at every award show front and center looking flawless lmao.

We’ve just got to get her name out there. :schoolingtime:

Gram Girls better get to work on it! Lou is going to be hard to take down :jlostare:

Tri Star works for JLo, Mary J. Blige, some football players, Georgia Florida Line, etc....

  • Like 3
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True or not She'll have to do it at some point if she wishes to gain support and credibility as a performer from people again, this mess happening is waaay to big for people to let it go easily, otherwise she can stay silent and enjoy the rest of her life doing something else:bedtime:

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