There's a hashtag floating around the Internet known as #FreeBritney, and if you haven't been keeping extensive tabs on the day to day goings-on of Britney Spears, then this hashtag might be very confusing to you. "Free Britney? Is she in jail or trapped in a mine collapse?" Well, maybe she is in a metaphorical way. Whatever the legal equivalent is of being thrown down a mineshaft, that's what's happened to her, and I'll try to explain it, and I'll even try my best to do it without making a single Britney Spears song reference or pun.
In 2008, Britney Spears was placed on something called conservatorship, which grants a guardian the right to manage the finances and even the daily life of the conservatee. In this case, Britney was placed under involuntary conservatorship due to psychiatric distress, an incident you might remember better from this:
The courts placed Britney's estate and sort of her entire life under the conservatorship of her dad and an attorney named Andrew Wallet. (A name pretty much on the nose, you see, as Britney was back to an extremely high work-load only a month later.) Wallet eventually resigned from being a conservator, but Britney's father still remains in charge of her life. Britney is required to ask her dad "to sign off on every major decision she makes, from business to health to voting and marriage."
Keep in mind, Britney Spears is a 38-year-old woman. Yet, according to an article from The New York Times, "her most mundane purchases, from a drink at Starbucks to a song on iTunes, are tracked in court documents as part of the plan to safeguard the great fortune she has earned but does not ultimately control."
So either one of two things is going on here. Either Britney is so mentally unstable that the sheer stress of ordering her own Peppermint Mocha might send her leaping over the counter and dragging a barista into the bean counter. Or, Britney is being exploited by her father and, whatever mental issues she has, can be explained by the traumas of childhood-pop-star-itis - a condition which her father gave her and is potentially still perpetuating.
It's why fans of the #FreeBritney movement believe Britney's Instagram feed is some kind of morse code for help.
Or maybe it's just weird, but regardless, Britney is now petitioning courts for her own freedom.
It's not clear if this is because she felt empowered by the #FreeBritney movement, or maybe she's just finally had enough. Whatever the case, we hope Britney's life grows a little less toxic in the process. (Dammit, I was so close.)
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Top Image: Wiki Commons