Should Britney Spears be freed from ‘abusive’ conservatorship?


Fact Box

  • A conservatorship is a legal agreement where the court appoints a guardian to manage an unable person’s finances and personal life. This can include monitoring finances, watching over the physical health of the individual, and figuring out living situations. 
  • Britney Spears was put under a conservatorship after her public breakdown and 72-hour mental health emergency; Jamie Spears, her father, was labeled guardian, and has been continually extended for years. 
  • The conservatorship has been publicly criticized after the debut of The New York Times’ documentary “Framing Britney Spears” and the movement #FreeBritney. 
  • On Wednesday, June 24, 2021, Spears told a judge that she wanted to end the 13-year conservatorship on accusations of “abuse” and causing her “more harm than good.” She said she has been denied the chance to marry, to have another child, and forced into business decisions.

Ethan (No)

Britney Spears' father, who is her conservator, has only been trying to keep her safe. According to USA Today, Britney was being manipulated and mismanaged by people who wanted to use her. When her father stepped in, he saved her from these people and began to give the singer what she actually needed. Many fans don't understand that, like most parents and children, Jamie doesn't always agree with what Britney thinks is best, but he has her best interests at heart. 

The thought that Jamie Spears is using his role as Britney's conservator to use her finances isn't supported by his lifestyle. According to Vanity Fair, Jamie Spears has been living in an RV, and he has sold the home that Britney grew up in. If her father was really stealing her money, as people are assuming, he would certainly be living much more lavishly.

Britney is mentally ill and therefore can't take care of herself or make decisions that are in her best interest. Britney was deemed 'gravely disabled' by the mental institution she was placed in after she infamously shaved her head. A credible institution wouldn't publicly mislabel someone as famous as Britney without knowing they'd face certain scrutiny. According to medical professionals, Britney couldn't take care of herself, and her father became her conservator to take care of his daughter. It's as simple as that. 

Lawyers have said that Britney could easily end her conservatorship. If the pop star really didn't want or need the conservatorship, Britney could simply petition the court. The court also reevaluates conservatorship each year and has continued to deem her in need of it. 

Bill (Yes)

Britney Spears should absolutely be freed from her 'abusive' conservatorship. It's important to take note of a few key facts in Britney's conservatorship saga—the singer suffered a mental breakdown in 2008. At that time, her father sought emergency 'temporary' conservatorship, which gave him legal authority to 'oversee and make decisions' on a wide range of matters, including Britney's career and business dealings and even her health and personal life. Britney will be 40 on her next birthday this year. Her father's 'temporary' control over her life should end per Britney's request.  

As is typical for a celebrity of Britney's stature, she has an entourage of hangers-on who require care and feeding and drain some of her financial resources. It's doubly sad that her own father is one of these people. You shouldn't expect your father to exploit your wealth and vulnerabilities in this way. Moreover, Britney's ability to handle her own affairs should not be subject to the opinion of someone who has a vested interest in the extension of her conservatorship.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of Britney's situation is that she only has partial custody of her two teenage sons. In addition, she has been trying to reclaim her independence for years. Even in the best of circumstances with a court-ordered 'temporary' conservatorship, it would be a sad situation; but in Britney's case, she describes the conservatorship as 'abusive' and alleges that she is unable to make routine daily living decisions as well as those that involve her body autonomy. It's well past the time that her 'temporary' conservatorship ends, and she can regain her personal autonomy.

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