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Arts and Entertainment

Opinion: Give Britney her life back

Britney Spears has been in a conservatorship under her father for the last 13 years. According to the California Courts, a conservatorship is a case where a responsible person or organization is appointed as a conservator by a judge to care for an adult who cannot care for their self or manage their finances. According…
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/joliewng/" target="_self">Jolie Wang</a>

Jolie Wang

October 7, 2021

Britney Spears has been in a conservatorship under her father for the last 13 years. According to the California Courts, a conservatorship is a case where a responsible person or organization is appointed as a conservator by a judge to care for an adult who cannot care for their self or manage their finances.

According to Disability Rights California, a conservator is the person appointed by the court to make sure that you have food, shelter and clothing, and services to meet your individual needs. 

A judge gave Britney Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, the duty of making sure Britney can live a proper life. Yet, there is ample evidence that Jamie Spears has been trying to control Britney’s entire life since February 2008. According to Disability Rights California, a conservator has a duty to protect you from abuse or neglect, and to help you integrate in society. However, as the years went on in Britney Spears’ conservatorship, it appears that it became more and more abusive for her, both physically and mentally.

Notably, Britney has done some questionable things during her career as a popstar. One famous instance was when she shaved her own head in a barber shop. Of course, nobody had anything against her shaving her head. But, it seemed like an impulsive decision of hers. It wasn’t like her character to suddenly shave her hair off.

Another instance, listed by More, that made people doubt her abilities to be a good parent was when she drove with her baby on her lap instead of putting her baby in a car seat as required by law. Clearly, something was not right with her at the time, because parents surely wouldn’t dangerously drive with their baby in their lap. Britney may have underlying mental health issues that were never disclosed to the public, which could also be part of the reason why she was put under a conservatorship.

Although Britney might have needed to be put under a conservatorship, that definitely doesn’t give anyone a right to abuse her, and it seems that her father was abusing her. As her guardian in the conservatorship, his duty is to make sure she can meet her basic, daily needs, not to control her entire life, and the evidence that he is possibly overly controlling her is troubling.

Britney Spears stayed silent about her conservatorship for 13 years, but she finally spoke out about it publicly in court in June 2021. According to NBC News, Britney Spears told the judge that she’s traumatized and that she just wants her life back. Spears said her father was “obsessed” with her and wanted to control her entire life.

According to Newsweek, Spears said she was unable to make friends without her father’s approval. If this is true, it is quite appalling. Britney is an adult and should not have to ask her dad for permission to be friends with someone.

Jamie Spears didn’t let Britney repaint her kitchen cabinets, according to the New York Times. As her guardian, her father should be able to keep her from making devastating financial decisions, but repainting kitchen cabinets would hardly make a dent in her sizable fortune from her career. Most working class or middle class families can afford a simple paint job for their kitchen cabinets.

Not only does Jamie Spears appear to strip Britney of her freedom to make her own decisions, he also disturbingly seems to be destroying her physical and mental health.

According to Page Six, during Britney Spears’ Las Vegas residency in 2019, she was forced to perform with a 104 degree fever. This is harmful to her physical health because she should have been able to rest and get better and waited for her fever to reduce and only perform when she is healthy enough to do so. It was not revealed whether or not it was her father’s decision for her to continue with the performance despite her high fever. Nonetheless, she performed, which means that her father wasn’t against her performing while sick. As her guardian in the conservatorship, he should be looking out for her health and well-being, and this account indicates Jamie Spears may not be taking care of Britney’s health like he’s supposed to.

According to Newsweek, Britney’s therapist suddenly put her on a lithium regimen, which was different from the usual medication that she had been taking for the last five years. Lithium is a mood stabilizer, and it’s normally used for treating people with bipolar disorder. Because her body wasn’t used to the strong effects of lithium, she said she felt drunk to the point where she couldn’t even have a conversation with her parents.

Britney’s therapist, Dr. Timothy Benson, passed away in 2019. According to NBC News, he was allegedly abusive to Britney. In a statement to a court during her conservatorship hearing, Britney said, “To be totally honest with you, when [the doctor] passed away, I got on my knees and thanked God.” Although it sounds kind of cruel to be happy over someone’s death, it shows how her psychiatrist probably was not a very good person towards her–at the very least, he has put her in this state of anxiety and fear towards him.

Britney’s father should know who Britney’s doctors are because he’s supposedly in charge of which doctors she sees as well. If he is letting Britney receive treatment from a person like Dr. Benson who may have been abusive, he himself may be an irresponsible guardian. 

Normally, medication is of course at the discretion of a professional licensed to make such prescriptions. However, from Spears’ testimony, it seems like the therapist put her on this medication in response to getting “a million phone calls about how I was not cooperating in rehearsals, and I haven’t been taking my medication.” This seems to make the prescription seem reactionary to reports about Spears that she claims in her testimony are totally false, raising the question of whether that prescription was based on reliable information. 

Further, Spears explains how the lithium is really dangerous for her, and to be put on such intense medicine could cause her to be mentally impaired. It’s clear she does not want that medication in her body, which she should have a right to refuse. 

On September 7, the New York Times reported that Jamie Spears has filed a petition to end Britney’s conservatorship as a whole. In the court hearing on June 23, Britney said, “I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry it’s insane. And I’m depressed. I cry every day,” she said. “And it’s been 13 years … It’s been a long time since I’ve owned my money. And it’s my wish and my dream for all of this to end without being tested.” Hopefully, her wish will be fulfilled and that it is the best for her well-being.

Although we don’t have enough information to accurately conclude that Jamie Spears is an abusive conservator and father, there is definitely enough evidence to infer that he has left a negative impact on Britney’s life, leaving her traumatized, by her own account. The amount of emotional abuse Britney claims to have been through is unimaginable, and everyone who admires her and wishes well would of course hope that being released from this conservatorship will let her have a happier and more fulfilling life.