In a monumental win for those in the #FreeBritney camp, Britney Spears’s father, Jamie Spears, was officially suspended as conservator— after a judge finally granted the singer’s lawyers requests following a lengthy legal battle. This decision marks the first time since 2008 that Britney Spears will be able to live without her father’s oversight, a decision that has been championed for a long time and was at the heart of a grassroots internet movement that has taken the world by storm over the course of the past year.
Britney Spears, who’s $60 million estate has been controlled by her father for the past 13 years, was placed under a conservatorship due to her erratic and highly publicized behavior— after having several high profile mental breakdowns. At the time, the public showed little sympathy for the singer. However, that was then and this is now. And in the past 13 years, there has been a shift in the public’s perception, both of the tabloids, the media, and how we respond to and handle mental health problems and substance abuse. In recent years, the general public has decided that we owe the singer an apology of sorts, and in apologizing to her, we must also fix what has been broken.
For the past 13 years, Britney Spears has remained silent about her feelings towards the conservatorship. However, this silence was broken back in June, when the singer publicly announced that the conservatorship had “traumatized” her, bringing even more attention to the issue, and validating the grassroots #FreeBritney movement. In her courtroom speech, Britney also alleged that under the conservatorship she had been drugged and forced to work against her will, forced to stay in a mental health facility, and prevented from removing her birth control device— according to The New York Times.
In the courtroom last month, Britney’s lawyer went beyond asking to just remove Jamie Spears from the conservatorship, calling for an investigation into Mr. Spears’s conduct as conservator, and questioning how he managed the estate, including the size of his salary and “unwarranted commissions.” A recent documentary by The New York Times has also revealed that Britney Spears was under intense surveillance throughout the conservatorship— her communications were monitored, and audio recordings were secretly captured in her bedroom.
While this latest court ruling marks a massive victory for the singer, Britney is still not quite free yet. While her father has been suspended from her conservatorship, the singer is still under the conservatorship. However, the end may soon be in sight. On November 12th there will be a new hearing for the singer, and depending on its outcome, Britney Spears might regain full control of her life. In the meantime, California accountant John Zabel is the temporary conservator of Britney’s finances, and over the next few weeks, Zabel will be tasked with determining if Britney is able to manage her own finances and if she is, then the judge may dismiss him as unnecessary. And when that happens, Britney Spears will finally be free.