What can we learn from "Framing Britney"?
It’s impossible not to be touched by the documentary about Britney Spears. “Framing Britney”, which was recently released by Sky in the UK, is utterly disturbing and it raises a lot of questions about the legal system in the US, the way female celebrities are handled by the media, and human rights in the world at large.
When we think of human rights, many issues around the world come to mind, from war ridden countries to dictatorships and mass surveillance systems… The last person we think of is a pop music star making millions of dollars per year and living a luxurious lifestyle.
When Britney Spears shaved her hair in 2007, a moment captured by her inescapable entourage of paparazzi, it was clear she was not well. At the time, most of us thought it was a caring act, when her father took over the management of her assets.
Fortune and glory attract love and attention from so many people, it may become impossible to distinguish who to trust in the celebrity’s immediate circle of family, friends and staff. Lines tend to blur between these roles, and when a lot of money is involved, it has the same effect as extreme circumstances on people, it can bring out their very best or worst.
When reading about the Free Britney movement, it was easy to dismiss it as another conspiracy theory that oils the social media engine. I must admit, it was only when I watched this documentary, that it became clear Britney Spears was actually the “Work B**ch” herself.
“Jamie has so much control over Britney's life through the conservatorship - including decisions like whether to get married, to perform or live in Las Vegas, or even if she can drive a car.” Forbes magazine
In the United States, a conservatorship is a legally binding arrangement, where a guardian is appointed by a judge to manage the financial affairs and/or daily life of another due to physical or mental limitations, or old age.
As with any rule or law, there’s always the possibility of breaking it, and it’s clear this could give rise to abuse, given that the guardian has total control over someone else’s life. In the documentary, a lawyer who deals with these matters said in her career she never heard of a conservatee being able to get out of this arrangement.
How can this even be possible?! In the case of Britney Spears, how can she be considered mentally incompetent over a period of 13 years when during this time, she served as a judge and mentor on the TV show X Factor and performed her own Las Vegas show for four years (which grossed a reported $138 million)?
Why the court doesn’t end this conservatorship entirely? How is it even legal? The latest ruling rejected Britney’s father request to keep his previous level of power, but he remains her guardian against her will.
According to BBC, “she hasn’t performed live for more than two years, and insists she has no intention of doing so again until her father is forced to relinquish control over her career.”
Another hearing is scheduled for 17 March, and with the explosion of the Free Britney movement, as a result of this documentary, maybe justice could be finally done with the end of her conservatorship.
You may think this is American popcorn, but the UK equivalent is a deputyship. None of us is free from illness, so we could also endure this form of protection if we’re fortunate to have a caring guardian, or slavery, if our appointed guardian is unscrupulous.
One may be kept in a care home against our will and even be paying for it with the money from our own labour. Unfortunately, it happens to many vulnerable and elderly people, but for something like this to be endured over 13 years to someone constantly in the public eye, while making millions with her work, is literally beyond belief!