Making Sense Of The Britney Spears Conservatorship And #FreeBritney
May 15, 2019 11:15 AM   Subscribe

 
I now know too much about Britney.

I'm sorry she's going through this, and it seems like the people closest to her are pretty bad for her, but unfortunately I tend to believe everyone's stories can be told and retold this way, so she's kind of at the mercy also of the press, which our history shows is not a good place for anyone to be.
posted by kalessin at 11:41 AM on May 15 [7 favorites]


I was just talking about this in the FF thread. Years ago, when Britney started having... a tough time... I laughed at memes and jokes about her, because at that point I have to admit I didn't see her as a person, but as just some celebrity weirdo.

These days though, she just seems like another parent with money troubles and mental health issues, which is, uh, relatable. And as one human to another, I really wish her personal business didn't have to make the news like this.

And I swear to you, the words that keep popping into my head are "Leave Britney alone."

So it only took me twelve years to catch up with Chris Crocker on this.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:47 AM on May 15 [69 favorites]


My best friend just had to be granted conservatorship over her mother (who is suffering with severe dementia) and the hoops she had to jump through (for good reason, mind you...I'm glad that the hoops exist!!) were a lot, and the paperwork basically has to be totally re-done with a lot of receipts and justifications for every single thing. I can't imagine the amount of mechanics involved in keeping someone who has as much agency as Spears appears to have under such strict conservatorship, except that a lot of money can create a lot of opportunities for legal help in hoop-jumping.
posted by xingcat at 11:49 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Yeah. When my Dad descended into dementia, I thought about and consulted with my attorney about conservatorship, and to be frank it would have made a few financial hurdles a little easier to deal with, but neither my attorney nor I relished the idea of having to do all the accounting and justification and annual reviews. Instead we made do with Power of Attorney, Durable Power of Attorney, Statutory Power of Attorney (depending on the US State, these can be different things), Advance Medical Directive Agent, and Trust Executor arrangements, which didn't require nearly as much paperwork or oversight, but did prevent me from doing certain key things to help manage his assets and his experience of end of life stuff.
posted by kalessin at 11:53 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


I remember reading the article in the previously post. Poor Britney. I hope the conservatorship ends soon and after that she gets some good advice about what actions she can take against the people and institutions that helped perpetuate it.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:01 PM on May 15 [9 favorites]


It's amazing how much coercion is involved in the music industry, and in the entertainment industry generally. On one hand, that sounds like a "yes yes film at eleven" statement, but on the other, consider this situation, consider Ke$sha and the whole sexual assault/contract thing, consider all those Korean bands where people are not allowed to cut their hair or have relationships...there's sort of a stratum of regular musicians getting screwed over by contracts that we just take for granted (because why not, after all why shouldn't someone who does pretty harmless labor get screwed over, amirite) and then there's also these shocking eruptions of really gross abuse.

Some of it is clearly because people start working when they're very young, which gives unscrupulous adults - parents, lawyers, corporate people - a lot more power than they would have otherwise. But part of it is that we treat "celebrities" as cartoons. It's entertaining and/or titillating to read about their misfortunes in a way that it would not be if we thought of them as real people who ought to have a right to personal lives, a decent wage that they can spend like adults, freedom to choose not to be bossed around by rapists, etc. I mean, these are basically labor problems that we treat as not labor problems because we don't think of the people involved as workers.
posted by Frowner at 12:18 PM on May 15 [57 favorites]


Social media is of course unreliable, but I've been following her for years, and she seems like a pretty cool mom to me. The success of her Vegas show and recent albums seems like good indicators that she at least has the discipline required to manage her own affairs. This prolonged conservatorship seems punitive at this point. Her "crimes" don't really justify it at all. Is she at least able to get her own lawyers?
posted by Brocktoon at 12:47 PM on May 15 [8 favorites]


consider all those Korean bands where people are not allowed to cut their hair or have relationships...there's sort of a stratum of regular musicians getting screwed over by contracts that we just take for granted

Some of it makes sense, simply because a business is being built up around a single person/personality, and it's rational to want to ensure that this person isn't going to radically change or walk away and leave a bunch of people stranded.

But it always goes too far. People get a little taste of control and it's never enough.
posted by explosion at 1:04 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


I had no idea this was still going on....seems very suspicious to me
posted by thelonius at 1:09 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Craig Ferguson turned me around on Britney, and since then almost all of my "celebrity point and gawk" instincts.
posted by Shepherd at 1:15 PM on May 15 [38 favorites]


"at that point I have to admit I didn't see her as a person"

Same. This is a sad situation, but if there's a bright side, it's that it's gotten me to be more empathetic.
posted by kevinbelt at 1:19 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]


Seems like as good a place as any to leave a link to obsessive24's vid about Spears's troubles, Piece of Me.
posted by praemunire at 1:31 PM on May 15 [4 favorites]


I had no idea this was still going on....seems very suspicious to me

$300 million missing seems very suspicious to me!
posted by srboisvert at 1:46 PM on May 15 [10 favorites]


A big chunk of her money goes to Kevin Federline. Maybe he's father of the year, but I wouldn't be terribly shocked if he preferred the status quo and used their children as bargaining chips.
posted by Brocktoon at 3:17 PM on May 15 [5 favorites]


I didn't see her as a person, but as just some celebrity weirdo.

With folks like Britney, Kanye and Charlie Sheen, it all seems like silly celebrity fun at first and then it turns out to be really pretty bad.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:34 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]


One of the big things missing from the article is the name Sam Lutfi, who Britney's family got a restraining order against right around the time of the conservatorship establishment, who she got a fresh restraining order against this week, and who has been strenuously asserting on Twitter that he's got nothing to do with #FreeBritney, although he supports it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:57 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]


He seems like a piece of work...
posted by Windopaene at 8:28 PM on May 15


I Got You Crazy: The Men Who Control Britney Spears from the Britney's Gram podcast, which has been widely ridiculed for their part in #FreeBritney but they have done a lot of work on the background of the conservatorship.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 11:13 PM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Craig Ferguson turned me around on Britney, and since then almost all of my "celebrity point and gawk" instincts.

Me too. I came in just but post that link. You know what gave me hope for Britney? Craig made it. He was celebrating being sober for so long. The story he told, waking up in a puddle of piss on christmas day and deciding to kill himself, he came back from that. Married, kids, career, wealth, many admirers. Britney can too but we're not helping by making her a joke.

Craig says there are people that will help, and they're easy to find, they're at the very beginning of the phone book. I guess he means AA. I think the deal with AA is that if you get a call from someone in trouble, you stop whatever you're doing and help.

In short, I wish Britney called Craig way back then.
posted by adept256 at 4:40 AM on May 16 [1 favorite]


One of the shitty but lifelike things about Sobriety is that while the Sober culture celebrates long sobriety periods, everyone knows someone who or they themselves have had a years-long or decades-long sobriety who slipped for what seems outwardly like a tiny perturbation, a minor thing, and they've gone right back to full addiction, benders, etc, and they've had to make that call again once they realize what happened. And restart. So Sober society always stands ready to assist. No matter if it's your first day or if you had an eighteen year run and then slipped last week.

Nobody ever permanently makes it. Being an addict is a lifelong struggle. Lots of addicts have to do daily self-interventions. Like Craig said, it's a thinking problem, not so much a drinking problem . And there are parts of mind and body that will always want whatever the substance(s) is. So frequently the addict/the drunk/the sober has to intercept impulsive rationalizations (like fixating on how many calories Guinness is) to forestall returning to the substance for a night or a week.

Knowing that, AA, sponsors, members, and people in the wider support networks for addicts and drunks try to be endlessly supportive, forgiving, and always ready to start again, on day one, from scratch, trying not to rush the process, waiting for the person to be ready and make the call by themselves.

In that model, it's no surprise that Britney, under someone else's supervision at 37, hasn't made the call. First she would need agency.
posted by kalessin at 5:56 AM on May 16 [4 favorites]


That blog post is interesting but takes some liberties with the facts (or is perhaps confused); Camarillo is not a hyper affluent "enclave" -- that's Calabasas.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:29 AM on May 16


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