On Friday, the incredible Framing Britney Spears documentary was released on FX and Hulu.
For 75 minutes, the New York Times-produced documentary brings viewers face-to-face with the grim reality of Britney’s life.
The conservatorship has limited her freedoms, handing over control of her personal life and her fortune to her awful dad.
But it’s more than that — Britney’s time in the spotlight has been filled with sexualization, double standards, ridicule, and cruelty.
A good portion of the documentary is a reminder to the world of how Britney was treated during her career.
From hordes of dozens of photographers crowding around her and following her every move to creepy interviews mentioning the then-underage star’s breasts, it was disgusting.
On her pedestal, Britney was like so many other stars of the late ’90s and early 2000s — expected to show lots of skin, but act aggressively virginal.
But our culture’s twisted mistreatment of women — as appalling as it is — is only part of the tragedy of Britney Spears.
She is now a 39-year-old mother of two teenage boys. She is not just one of the most talented performers in the world — she’s a great mom.
Despite all of this, Britney has virtually no autonomy, her every move dictated by her conservatorship … which is controlled by her horrible father.
Adam Streisand is an attorney based in Los Angeles. His specialty is conservatorship arrangements.
He took part in the documentary, and shared that he and Britney met at the Beverly Hills Hotel immediately after her January 2008 involuntary psychiatric hold.
There, Britney reportedly told him that she had accepted that the conservatorship would happen … but she stressed that she did not want her father as conservator.
The court ended up barring Adam Streisand from representing Britney or her interests.
He was told that there was a medical report — one that he was not allowed to see — that declared that Britney was unable to seek counsel.
Instead, the court appointed Samuel D Ingham III to represent Britney in the matter.
As of 2016, Ingham collected $2 million in fees from Britney’s estate … and Jamie Spears remained her conservator.
Additionally, conservatorships are virtually impossible to legally abolish once put in place — they are usually designed for the elderly or those with severely diminished mental capacity.
Much of the documentary focused upon how outrageous those who knew Britney found it that somehow it was claimed in court that she could not make her own decisions.
The documentary was made without the permission of the Spears family — for obvious reasons, remaining silent may not have been by choice for all involved.
Those who knew her best, from family friends to traveling companions to dancers who performed on stage with her, did appear on camera.
They spoke of her career ambition, her competence as an artist and performer, and expressed bafflement over how Britney was portrayed in court to get the conservatorship in the first place.
From Going Clear to Blackfish to Surviving R Kelly, so many documentaries have the power to educate, inform, and shift perceptions.
Though I am the first to admit that I already existed in a decidedly pro-Britney bubble, Framing Britney Spears appears to have done its job in that regard.
In this moment, we are all Chris Crocker pleading with the world — now too late — to "leave Britney alone." And celebrities are right there with us.
Khloe Kardashian posted a lengthy Instagram comment about how she is "praying" for Britney at this time.
Sarah Jessica Parker and scores of other actors of all ages have tweeted, with no trace of irony: "Free Britney," signaling membership in the #FreeBritney movement.
Miley Cyrus, who has wanted to follow Britney’s footsteps from a young age, spoke out about her love and support for Britney at this weekend’s Superbowl.
Valerie Bertinelli tweeted out a list of the men whom she holds responsible for terrorizing Britney before and during her conservatorship.
Every other man listed is simply Britney’s father, Jamie Spears. That is beyond relatable for many Britney fans.
Public pressure from everyone from Kacey Musgraves to Andy Cohen might not erase the conservatorship, but if there’s any hope to be had, it’s that one day things might get too hot for Jamie and he’ll back off.