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"The conservatorship should end,” Spears said before a judge during a probate court hearing in Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon. “I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive."
Spears, 39, gave harrowing details about her life since the conservatorship was put into place 13 years ago, claiming that she has been forced to perform against her will while ill, pushed into a mental health facility as punishment for not wanting to do a specific dance move, and forced to take lithium. She said she’s forced to work seven-day weeks with no breaks and is not allowed to marry her partner or have another child.
Spears also claimed that her conservators won’t let her remove an intrauterine device from her body.
The conservatorship, largely maintained by her father Jamie Spears, was instituted by a court in 2008 not long after Spears endured what appeared to be a mental health crisis that played out in the tabloids. Under the conservatorship, Jamie Spears plays a key role in the singer's finances, business dealings, and legal matters. Court documents obtained by the New York Times this week show that the pop star has raised questions about the arrangement, and her father's fitness to oversee it, for years.
“We love you Britney!!! Stay strong,” pop legend Mariah Carey tweeted shortly after the testimony.
During her testimony, Spears said that her father and others responsible for mistreating her should be in jail. Bravo host and producer Andy Cohen tore into Jamie Spears in a clip, criticizing him for his alleged treatment of his daughter.
“How about we all start listening to Britney Spears? Britney Spears is not a girl, she is a woman. She certainly deserves a hell of a lot more than a low-rent 'Mommy Dearest' in a boxy suit. Britney, after the courage you showed today, you are 100% stronger than yesterday, and Jamie, if you want to make money in the future, I suggest you better work, bitch," he said.
The singer Halsey tweeted, “Bless Britney and I hope with my whole heart she is awarded freedom from this abusive system. She deserves it more than anything. I admire her courage speaking up for herself today..”
“Oldest trick in the playbook of the patriarchy: declare a woman mad and gain control of her assets/property. Been happening for centuries,” musician Liz Phair tweeted. “Anyone saying she ‘seems unbalanced,’ please show me the equivalent conservatorships for male entertainers/athletes exhibiting erratic behavior. Where are all the MOMS controlling their grown son’s millions for a decade.”
Even Spears’ ex-boyfriend, Justin Timberlake, weighed in, tweeting, “After what we saw today, we should all be supporting Britney at this time. Regardless of our past, good and bad, and no matter how long ago it was… what’s happening to her is just not right. No woman should ever be restricted from making decisions about her own body.”
Timberlake went on to write, “No one should EVER be held against their will… or ever have to ask permission to access everything they’ve worked so hard for.”
Earlier this year, Timberlake apologized to Spears on his Instagram account for not speaking up for her sooner. His apology came on the heels of the release of “Framing Britney,” a New York Times documentary that questioned the conservatorship. The filmmakers pointed out that the former N*SYNC singer had framed himself as a victim following his 2002 breakup with Spears after their three-year relationship. This contributed to the crumbling of her reputation.
The newfound support for the "Overprotected" singer also coming from conservative television personality Meghan McCain, who tweeted, “How is what has been done to Britney Spears not a human rights crime? Isolation, controlling her capacity to reproduce without her consent, forcing her to work under inhumane conditions. If she were any other person the people who did this to her would be in jail.”
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