The #FreeBritney movement: What is it, and why is it trending now?

Y’all…. this is not good..#freebritney pic.twitter.com/FjeTKbqDJq

— valeska (@iatemuggles) July 13, 2020

apparently someone on twitter asked britney to post doves if she was in trouble… look at her most recent ig post. we need to save britney spears NOW pic.twitter.com/DgOkInBKHj

— BLACK LIVES MATTER (@abbymatejkaaa) July 13, 2020

Rebel Wilson, Rose McGowan, Ariel Winter, Paris Hilton, and her Crossroads co-star Taryn Manning all joining the campaign. More than 100,000 particularly concerned fans have even petitioned the White House, urging for Spears’s emancipation. But how, exactly, is Britney supposedly not free? From what — or whom — does she need to be liberated? And why is this movement regaining traction more than a decade after the “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” singer, now age 38, began living under her father’s legal conservatorship?

The complicated situation dates back to 2007, a rock-bottom year for Spears marked by her messy divorce and custody battle with Kevin Federline; a short-lived stint in rehab; a shocking head-shaving meltdown at a hair salon in Tarzana, Calif; constant harassment by the paparazzi that culminated in the pop star angrily attacking one tabloid photographer with an umbrella; and a disastrous performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. The following year, after her two 5150 psychiatric holds, Britney’s dad, Jamie Spears, petitioned the L.A. County Superior Court for an emergency “temporary conservatorship”; the arrangement became permanent by the end of 2008. Jamie and attorney Andrew Wallet later filed for multiple extensions — and, 12 years later, Britney still isn’t in control of her life, career, and $60 million fortune.

FreeBritney.net, was launched way back in 2009 to question the necessity of this conservatorship, and the website remains up and running to this day — but the hashtag really picked up momentum last year, after a series of eyebrow-raising developments.

Britney’s Gram that analyzed the singer’s Instagram posts. The podcast was humorous at first, but it eventually took a more serious tone. One episode included audio of a voicemail from a man who claimed to be a paralegal previously involved in the conservatorship case; in the message, the mysterious informant claimed that Jamie had actually pulled Britney from her Vegas show because she had stopped taking her medication, and that her psychiatric hospitalization had actually lasted three months, not just 30 days. The anonymous caller also warned that Britney was being held against her will.

natural, deeper singing voice was too similar to that of her Disney teen-pop rival, Christina Aguilera; and have brought up Britney’s mythical 2005 “lost album,” Original Doll, a dark and self-penned record that her label allegedly refused to release, a rejection that purportedly contributed to the singer’s mental breakdown. The fashion-watchdog Instagram account @DietPrada has broken down all of these allegations in the form of a multi-page “PSA.”

“likes” on various Instagram comments.

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