Ronan Farrow and Jia Tolentino just published a devastating investigation in The New Yorker detailing how lawyers and her own father have completely controlled Britney Spears for the past 13 years.
The reporters learned that Britney called 911 begging for help before a recent court proceeding:
On the eve of the hearing, according both to a person close to Spears and to law enforcement in Ventura County, California, where she lives, Spears called 911 to report herself as a victim of conservatorship abuse. (Emergency calls in California are generally accessible to the public, but the county, citing an ongoing investigation, sealed the records of Spears’s call.) Members of Spears’s team began texting one another frantically. They were worried about what Spears might say the next day, and they discussed how to prepare in the event that she went rogue. In court on the 23rd, an attorney for the conservatorship urged the judge to clear the courtroom and seal the transcript of Spears’s testimony. Spears, calling into the hearing, objected. “Somebody’s done a good job at exploiting my life,” she said, adding, “I feel like it should be an open-court hearing—they should listen and hear what I have to say.” Then, for the first time in years, Spears spoke for herself, sounding lucid and furious, talking so fast that the judge interjected repeatedly to tell her to slow down, to allow for accurate transcription. “The people who did this to me should not get away,” Spears said. Addressing the judge directly, she added, “Ma’am, my dad, and anyone involved in this conservatorship, and my management, who played a huge role in punishing me when I said no—Ma’am, they should be in jail.”
What appeared from the outside to be business as usual to much of the public was tu,multuous and coercive, according to Britney:
At the hearing this June, Spears described what was happening to her in 2018. She was forced by her managers to go on tour, she said, and was threatened that she’d be sued if she refused. After the tour, she was told to start rehearsing for “Domination,” even though she wanted to take a break. (The member of her team denied the allegation, saying that Spears had enthusiastically signed up for the tour and that her conservators forced her hand only when she attempted to renege after arriving.) One day, she said, she refused to do a certain dance move in rehearsal, and “it was as if I planted a huge bomb somewhere.” Her therapist told her that he’d been informed by her managers that she wasn’t coöperating or taking her medication—“which is so dumb,” Spears added, “because I’ve had the same lady every morning for the past eight years give me my same medication, and I’m nowhere near these stupid people.” Soon afterward, she said, her therapist put her on lithium; the new medication made her feel drunk and scared, she said.
The whole story is worth a read, just to understand who powerless people are when under conservatorship or guardianship. In the United States, over one million people are govenred under these arrangements, often those least able to defend themselves, including the elderly and disabled.