The legal deal banning Britney Spears from managing her own life and finances is now older than the pop star was when audiences met her as a 12-year-old effervescent on the Disney Channel – and the controversy over who directs his life begins to boil.
Spears, 39, has been living on strict regimes since her infamous ending, which in 2008 led a California court to place her under single legal guardianship largely governed by her father, Jamie.
The guardianship – whose precise reasons and terms are buried in sealed or redacted court documents and non-disclosure agreements – has come under intense scrutiny in recent years, especially after Spears canceled its second residency in Las Vegas in 2019 and continued. indefinite professional interruption.
Now, a feature-length documentary on FX produced in partnership with the New York Times explores the popular tale of Spears, who rose to global stardom as a teenager through a string of hits – including his escape “… Baby One More Time “- before a dramatic fall sees her become a paparazzi punching bag.
The film focuses on the role of the celebrity journalism machine of the early 2000s in its collapse, portraying Spears as a relentlessly pursued media target – the blonde, bubbly and wildly successful American princess whose dirty laundry has triggered the schadenfreude of a nation.
– ‘Fear of his father’ –
The #FreeBritney movement, of staunch fans who believe she is being held against her will, gained momentum this year as the performer pushed to remove her father from guardianship.
Her advocates – whom many, including Jamie Spears, call conspiracy theorists – say the star is asking for help via coded messages, emojis and outfits on her eccentric Instagram account.
They demanded their justification because Spears expressed his gratitude, and after his duty counsel told a judge that “my client informed me that she was afraid of her father.”
The judge chose not to immediately remove Spears’ father as the head of his estate, but appointed the financial firm Bessemer Trust as co-custodian.
Jamie Spears temporarily took a step back in 2019 as leader of his person – a role that has given him power, including over his medical and mental health decisions – after suffering a ruptured colon.
The pop icon for now is not looking to remove guardianship – an arrangement normally intended for the elderly or infirm – but rather to hand it over to professionals.
She would like the licensed registrar who now has provisional control over her to remain in place and a bank to oversee her estate.
The next court hearing is set for February 11.
– ‘Cheap photos’ –
The documentary “Framing Britney Spears” suggests that the performer who once ruled global pop was used by some of her managers and pummeled to emotional ruin by an exploitative media environment, in which the images of her took their toll. over a million dollars.
The film uses the vast cache of images of the star who came of age as high profile celebrity consumption, including gossip blogging and reality TV, exploded – and when sanity was taken much less. seriously.
From her days as a brave preteen on “Star Search” in 1992 – when host Ed McMahon awkwardly asks her if she has a boyfriend – to her infamous head shave in 2007, the documentary traces a path that suggests a magnetic superstar who has become speechless in his own life, and whose image has become that of everyone except his own.
It shows teenage Spears, pitted over her virginity (or lack thereof).
Prominent prime-time presenter Diane Sawyer pushes her to explain why she “did something” to cause “so much pain” to fellow pop musician Justin Timberlake in their high-profile breakup, a situation that saw Spears choose, as one interviewee put it, as “the school bitch.”
Sawyer also appeared to justify comments from the former Maryland first lady – who said “if I had a chance to shoot Britney Spears I think I would.”
“Because of the example given to children and how difficult it is to be a parent,” Sawyer told Spears, visibly distressed.
And Matt Lauer – the now disgraced former morning TV personality – brings the star to tears in a 2006 interview in which he questions her maternal fitness as she is pregnant with her second child.
During her prolonged mental breakdown that followed her divorce and custody battle in 2006, Spears was caught barefoot at gas stations and was driving with a son on her lap.
In another infamous scene, as his cousin begs the photographers to leave, Spears picks up an umbrella and begins to disparage a paparazzi’s vehicle.
“It was a big hit,” this photographer says of the show in the documentary.
– New media landscape –
Moya Luckett, a media historian at New York University whose research includes celebrity culture, says the “cruelty” Spears experiences today is broadcast in a social media landscape in which stars can organize their own. images.
“You become your own producer,” Luckett told AFP, pointing to stars like Taylor Swift and Beyonce who caught the conversation on Instagram, or by showing their own documentaries.
As his legal battle grows, the fascination with Spears is likely to linger, especially as fans – many of them in their 30s and 40s, who adored him in their youth – are taking her comes out like theirs.
“Everything she goes through resonates with the kind of frustration many of us have, in a neoliberal world, where we’re told you can do anything if you want to,” Luckett said.
“And then find out we really can’t.”