These are interesting times in the life of Britney Spears.
And that’s somewhat surprising, as it appears that the pop icon has not left her home in several months.
Even so, Brit hasn’t been this much of a tabloid staple since her infamous head-shaving meltdown back in 2007.
While that strange situation unfolded just over a decade ago, it was a different time in terms of society’s sensitivity toward mental health issues, as well as the tabloid media’s willingness to kick a suffering celeb when they’re down.
Thankfully, Britney’s current situation is being handled with a bit more compassion — though the main reason for that might be the fact that it’s her fans who are controlling the coverage.
If you’re one of those fans, you’re probably well aware that for most of her adult life, Britney’s freedom has been severely restricted by a conservatorship controlled primarily by her father.
Under the terms of the arrangement, Britney cannot make any major decisions with regard to her finances, her career, or even the raising of her children.
Many of the details are not publicly known, but Britney has confirmed that she’s not permitted to drive, and fans have speculated that she’s not even allowed to leave the house without permission.
Now, the strain of life in a gilded cage appears to be taking toll on Britney’s mental health,
The first sign of trouble came back in April, when Spears burned down her home gym.
Officially, the incident was an accident, but some fans jumped to the conclusion that Britney was crying out for help.
In the months since, reports of Spears sending coded messages through her Instagram posts have put her fan base in a hyper-vigilant state.
Many believe that Britney is being held captive, and recent events have only heightened their suspicions.
First, a conservatorship review hearing was canceled due to alleged privacy concerns.
Shortly thereafter, Britney’s brother gave a bizarre interview in which he described the conservatorship as "a wonderful thing" for his family.
Now, her father, Jamie Spears, is speaking out about the so-called #FreeBritney movement for the first time.
“All these conspiracy theorists don’t know anything. The world don’t have a clue," Jamie recently told Page Six.
"It’s up to the court of California to decide what’s best for my daughter. It’s no one else’s business," he added.
“I have to report every nickel and dime spent to the court every year. How the hell would I steal something?”
The remarks sent Britney fans into an uproar.
Some responded by ramping up their allegations against Jamie, while others pointed out that much of his questionable conduct has been verified by court documents.
“You accuse us of starting conspiracies on your daughter. But you know what’s not a conspiracy? You asking for a raise for taking care of your daughter," one #FreeBritney activist tweeted.
"You hanging out with your handlers/managers group, living your best life off Britney’s money, without her.”
Others appealed to law enforcement agencies, imploring them to step in:
“We want an investigation on Britney Spears’ conservatorship @CalCourts @FBILosAngeles @FBI," tweeted one fan.
"We want an investigation on Britney Spears’ conservatorship @CalCourts @FBILosAngeles @FBI.”
Others seconded those demands in the replies:
“Yes. #FreeXBritney #FreeBritney END THE CONSERVATORSHIP," wrote one fan.
“Britney Spears’ fans don’t want her medical or private records to be public. We want her to be free. Pass it on – #FreeBritney,” another echoed.
As The Blast reports, both the hashtag and the movement have caught on in recent weeks.
Fans protested outside the courthouse before Spears’ latest hearing was canceled, and an online petition urging the judge in her case to end the conservatorship has received more than 100,000 signatures.
Obviously, none of this will force the court to bend to the movement’s will, but Jamie Spears is likely feeling the pressure to at least make the arrangement more transparent.