On February 5, the American channel Fx and the Hulu platform broadcast a documentary on pop star Britney Spears. Produced by the New York Times and directed by Samantha Stark, Framing Britney Spears traces the American singer’s descent into hell and her complicated relationship with celebrity. But the aspect of the documentary that makes the most reaction is its placement under supervision.
“What do we want?”, “Britney to be free”, “When do we want it?”, “Now!”. These are the slogans that Britney Spears fans chant regularly during demonstrations. For several months, the #FreeBritney (Free Britney) movement has gained momentum on social networks. According to fans of the pop star, her placement in custody deprives her of her freedom. The 39-year-old singer would not be free to make decisions without the consent of her guardians or to manage her fortune herself. The #FreeBritney movement thus wants to highlight this deprivation of rights.
Mission accomplished since the documentary Framing Britney Spears looks back largely on the affair and on the role that his fame and the media pressure played in his descent into hell and possibly his placing under guardianship. Following a first broadcast, viewers quickly stormed social networks to share their feelings about the shocking revelations of the documentary.
To understand these accusations, we must go back to 2008. While Britney Spears “freaks out” publicly under the eyes of cameras around the world, she is temporarily placed under judicial supervision. But the decision quickly becomes permanent. The singer’s finances are initially placed under the supervision of her father Jamie Spears and a lawyer, Andrew Wallet. However, the latter resigned in 2019 and Britney Spears’ father then became the sole manager of his fortune.
Many fans accuse the singer’s father of taking advantage of the situation to get rich off his daughter’s back. One of the people in Britney Spears’ circle interviewed on Framing Britney Spears even said that he heard the singer’s father say, “My daughter is going to be so rich she’s going to buy me a boat.” The documentary calls into question the strict supervision under which the star finds himself. A measure generally reserved for people whose mental capacities are severely impaired and who are unable to make their own decisions.
The #FreeBritney movement has exploded in recent months as the singer opposed her guardianship in court for the first time. Last November, Britney Spears went to a judge to ask her father to stop being her guardian. “My client informed me that she was afraid of her father […] She will no longer go on stage if he continues to be in charge of her career”, then declared her lawyer, Samuel D. Ingham III, to the judge, during one of the preliminary hearings. But the star’s request was turned down by the Los Angeles court.
Britney Spears has not returned to the stage since 2018 when she performed in Las Vegas for her residency, “Britney: Domination”. The singer canceled the second part of her residency in Las Vegas in 2019. The broadcast of the New York Times-produced documentary shouldn’t appease fans of the pop star who are crying out for justice. On Saturday, the #FramingBritneySpears hashtag remained in trend for several hours.