Britney Spears’ father is firing back against perpetrators of the #FreeBritney movement, and is taking the fight offline and into a court room.
Britney’s father, Jamie Spears, was named conservator over the 37-year-old pop star in 2008 and has maintained that position, overseeing his daughter’s affairs and well-being, in the years since. In recent months, however, as Britney has been observed checking in and out of a mental health facility, a subset of her fans have become increasingly vocal about their belief that the singer is being held captive in the arrangement, spreading their message with the hashtag #FreeBritney.
Now, Jamie is taking serious action against what he describes as defamation.
The conservatorship on Wednesday filed a defamation suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“It’s time for the conspiracy theories about Britney Spears’ well-being and the mob #FreeBritney movement to stop,” the complaint reads. “Over the past few months, Britney and her father Jamie have sat by while fans have accused them of numerous false and malicious things, including attempts to mislead the public with the content that appears on her social media.”
The suit specifically takes aim at a Britney fan named Anthony Elia, who it says has “been one of the loudest voices in that crowd,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Elia, who runs the Britney Spears fan website Absolute Britney, is alleged to have written an Instagram post on June 14 which is described in the suit as “false and defamatory,” the Associated Press reports. That post accused the singer’s team of deleting positive comments from her Instagram page and keeping the negatives ones in order to “keep up the illusion that she needs help,” which Elia allegedly claimed “has to be” a violation of Spears’ human rights.
Those claims were reported by bigger media outlets, and a number of those reports were, in turn, shared by Elia on social media, the suit went on to claim. Elia then seemed to walk back his claims the following day by admitting that the positive comments had appeared on Britney’s page again, but the suit argues that putting deleted comments back up isn’t even possible on Instagram, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Elia, the suit says, “has made it his mission to spread false and malicious lies on the internet about Britney, her conservatorship and her team, including that those around Britney are harming her and not acting in her best interests,” the Associated Press reports.
The suit is seeking actual and punitive damages, as well as an injunction that would prevent Elia from further spreading misinformation about the singer.
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