As one of the biggest pop stars in history, Britney Spears has always lived her life in the spotlight. Her career, as well as her private life, has been publicized as the paparazzi stalked her and documented her every move. What the cameras didn’t catch was the chaos going on behind the scenes. A recent documentary created by The New York Times has taken a close look at the control Spears’ father has over her life in the form of a conservatorship.
The documentary called “Framing Britney Spears” was released on Hulu on Feb. 25 to much approval from its audiences. Those who weren’t familiar with the #FreeBritney movement have now spoken out about Spears’ battle with her father to escape his control. The New York Times defines a conservator in the beginning of the film as “a person, official, or institution designated to take over and protect the interests of an incompetent.” Jamie Spears, Britney’s father, acquired this role over Britney without her consent in 2008. Fans are outraged that Britney is still fighting for her rights to freedom in court because her father will not step down from the position.
The documentary begins by looking into Britney’s early career and how she came into stardom. Jamie was never too involved in Britney’s life but was thrilled to see his daughter’s fame grow. Kim Kaiman, the senior director of marketing at Jive Records at the time of Britney’s startup is quoted in the documentary describing her views on Jamie’s motives. “The only thing Jamie ever said to me was, ‘My daughter’s gonna be so rich, she’s gonna buy me a boat.’ That’s all I’m gonna say about Jamie.”
As Britney started to become one of the biggest faces in Hollywood, the paparazzi never left her alone. They followed her everywhere; whether she was going to visit her kids because she lost custody of them or she was going to shave her head in a moment of distress. The cameras caught her in the darkest of times and the photos were out there for the whole world to see.
Daniel Ramos, the celebrity videographer responsible for capturing the photo of Britney with a shaven head attacking a car with an umbrella, spoke on his role in the paparazzi that followed Britney. When asked if he thought the paparazzi being around affected Britney, he argues that she never indicated that she wanted the paparazzi to leave her alone. The documentary reveals, however, the true impact that the constant cameras had on Britney and her mental health.
Once Britney was admitted to a hospital for an involuntary psychiatric evaluation, Jamie Spears stepped back into the picture by filing for a temporary conservatorship that was soon to become permanent. Britney was no longer deemed able to make her own decisions
Jamie gained control of Britney’s estate, her career and even the people she interacted with. Britney expressed that she wanted someone else to be her conservator; a third party that wasn’t her father. However, every time she went to court to remove Jamie from the conservatorship, she was denied.
To this day, Britney fights to be free from her father’s control. Those who keep tabs on Britney have noticed her cryptic Instagram posts that seem to be a cry for help, further analyzed in the documentary.
Britney’s fans have been fighting alongside her since the conservatorship began, beginning the movement called #FreeBritney. Thanks to this documentary, so many others are seeing the injustice present in Britney’s life and want to help her.
“Framing Britney Spears” doesn’t just look at Britney’s life as a pop star, but as a human being who deserves basic human rights. The documentary looks at many other components of Britney’s story as well. The New York Times revealed a side of Britney that not everyone was aware of; while also starting important conversations about misogyny, women and mental health.
Whether you are a Britney stan or not, this documentary makes it clear that Britney deserves her freedom. It’s #FreeBritney b*tch.