Britney Spears spoke publicly for the first time today about the conservatorship she has been under for the past 13 years. The New York Times published confidential court documents earlier in the day in which Britney alleged that she had been forced to perform with a 104-degree fever, that she was being taken advantage of, and that the conservatorship was “oppressive and controlling.”
The conservatorship hearing was broadcast over Zoom, as well as an audio-only stream on the court’s website. Pull quotes from Spears’ remarks were disseminated through numerous #FreeBritney social media accounts. So if you happened to be a famous woman in music, or just a famous Britney fan, you couldn’t help but encounter Spears’ words. It’s quite a shift: from not being allowed to speak at these hearings to having your words shared across the world.
Britney called the conservatorship “abusive,” and asked for it to finally end. Celebrity Britney fans — including Brandy, Tinashe, and Mariah Carey —shared messages of support.
Speaking remotely in court today, Spears said that she would like to get married and have another child, but under the conservatorship she cannot get her IUD removed. Liz Phair highlighted this aspect of Spears’ testimony in a tweet, commenting that control of a woman by declaring her mad is the “oldest trick in the playbook of the patriarchy.” Halsey also shared her disgust with Spears’ account of her treatment, tweeting “fuck anyone who thinks they have the authority as an institution or individual to control a person’s reproductive health. #FreeBritney.”