For the past week, a new documentary about Britney Spears has been creating quite a stir on social media.
Produced by the New York Times and airing on Hulu, Framing Britney Spears has reached a massive audience in a short period of time.
And importantly, many of the outraged viewers belong to demographics that would not normally seek out a Britney Spears documentary.
The film takes a big picture view of the struggle over Britney’s conservatorship and the mistreatment she’s endured at the hands of the music industry, the media, and her own family.
Love or hate her music, the filmmakers argue, Britney is one one of the most influential cultural figures of our time, and the abuse she’s endured has much to tell us about the plight of women in 21st century America.
Spears’ legal battle against her father has been making tabloid coverage for months, and thanks to the documentary and recent coverage in outlets like The New Yorker, the #FreeBritney movement has officially made its way into the mainstream press.
And it appears that that’s no accident.
In a recent legal filing, Spears encouraged fans to keep an eye on her conservatorship case.
It seems that pressue from the public is one thing that her father actually responds to.
Most of the suits who are paid to keep her conservatorship in place are lawyers or finance professionals who have no desire to be wrapped up in a high-profile public scandal.
But that’s just one of the reasons that fans believe Britney might have had a hand in producing the recent film about her life.
The documentary concludes with a statement from the producers indicating that Spears had no involvement in the project.
"The New York Times attempted to reach Britney Spears directly to request her participation in this project. It is unclear if she received the requests," the statement reads.
Fans who have been watching Britney’s Instagram closely have taken issue with that remark, as they believe Framing is the project Britney has been hinting at for months.
Many #FreeBritney activists are of the belief that Spears has been sending coded messages to her fans in the captions on her Instagram posts.
Frequent references to "Project Rose" or "Just a Touch of Rose" led fans to believe that Spears intended to rally the support of fans by telling her story to as large an audience as possible.
As the singer’s movements and finances are closely monitored at all times, she would obviously be unable to claim credit for the project or be involved in a hands-on way.
And so, she may have chosen to partner with a prestigious legacy media outlet such as the New York Times, in order to create a doc that would be available on basic cable and streaming the same night, in order to ensure that it reached the largest possible audience.
This wouldn’t be the first time that Britney used TV to try and sway public opinion.
Shortly after her controversial marriage to Kevin Federline, the couple launched an MTV reality show with the goal of showing the world that they’re just regular, young marrieds.
Of course, that project wound up being poorly received, and a source tells the New York Post that Britney is currently working on a different project in which she’ll tell her story "in her own words."
So maybe she’s holding off in order to make sure she can really make herself heard this time
Whatever the case, we hope she won’t remain silent for much longer.