The #Free Britney Movement

Photo courtesy of FLY:D on

Sophia Khan, Staff Writer

After a mental breakdown in 2007, singer Britney Spears was briefly hospitalized and deemed unfit to manage her personal finances. As a result, her father, Jamie Spears, requested a conservatorship arrangement. In court, he argued that she was incapable of taking care of herself due to the decline in her mental health. According to a California court, “A conservatorship is a court case where a judge appoints a responsible person or organization [the “conservator”] to care for another adult [the “conservatee”] who cannot care for himself or herself or manage his or her own finances.” In February 2008, Jamie Spears took full control of his daughter’s life with a conservatorship. 

Since then, fans have expressed their discontent with the length of Spears’ conservatorship, which has lasted into the singer’s late 30s. The #FreeBritney movement arose after fans began to question whether she was being controlled to an unfair extent by her father, and if the conservatorship was actually in the singer’s best interest. The movement aimed to support the singer through her fight to end the conservatorship.

Recently, Britney Spears released a statement thanking her fans for their support in helping her spread the word about her conservatorship. The singer had previously spoken out against her father as appointed conservator, highlighting his toxic drinking and spending habits. In June 2021, the singer described the conservatorship as having administered more pain than benefit. 

Her brother, Bryan Spears, commented on the conservatorship: “She’s always wanted to get out of it. It’s very frustrating to have—whether someone’s coming in peace to help or coming in with an attitude, having someone constantly tell you to do something has got to be frustrating. She’s wanted to get out of it for quite some time.” Paris Hilton, a longtime friend and supporter of the singer, also spoke out on the situation in an interview on Andy Cohen Live: “I feel like if you are an adult you should be able to live your life and not be controlled…I just feel like she has no control of her life whatsoever and I just don’t think that’s fair.” 

On September 29th, 2021, Jamie Spears was removed from the conservatorship after legal action by Britney. “I’m here to get rid of my dad and charge him for conservatorship abuse,” the singer stated. During the trial, Spears said, “I deserve to have the same rights as anybody does by having a child, a family, any of those things, and more so.” Throughout the trial, Britney Spears claimed that Jamie Spears took advantage of her money and controlled her diet, emphasizing that her father intimidated her.

This public conservatorship battle depicts how individuals can come together and utilize their collective voices to effect change, especially with the power of the Internet. Public pressure surrounding Spears’ case even prompted Congress to pass legislation to safeguard individuals under conservatorships. The #FreeBritney movement is credited with empowering the passage of the FREE Act, which closely controls conservatorships on a federal level.