As Britney Spears’ father suspended from guardianship, supporters target broader reform
The #FreeBritney movement that just helped Britney Spears win a major legal victory over her disputed tutelage has set its sights on a new target: similar arrangements that could trap people who aren’t pop stars.
An LA County Superior Court judge on Wednesday suspended James Spears, the father of the 39-year-old pop singer, from the management of a trusteeship that has controlled his daughter’s life and an estimated $ 60 million in inheritance. over the past 13 years. The judge appointed a temporary curator, paving the way for the deal to end this fall.
Ms Spears’ Guardianship was formed in 2008 amid her struggles with mental health issues. Guardianship assigns responsibility for the affairs of a person deemed unfit for the task to others.
But that arrangement has come under immense pressure in Ms Spears’ case, with many rallies around her cause. Now, some of those same people who followed Ms Spears’ music as children and adolescents are unlikely soldiers in a rally struggle to reform the controversial legal arrangement.
“It’s way bigger than Britney, it’s a systemic issue,” said Megan Radford, 34, who traveled from Oklahoma City to rally for Ms Spears in Los Angeles this week.
These motivated fans have spent months developing an area of ââexpertise around conservatories and expressing themselves on the broad lines of the movement. But it’s too early to know their specific plans or whether their activism will lead to lasting change.
According to a 2018 report from the National Council on Disability, there are an estimated 1.3 million active adult guardianship or guardianship cases with courts overseeing at least $ 50 billion in assets.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
What do you think will become of the FreeBritney movement? Join the conversation below.
Guardianship advocates argue that legal provisions can protect people from themselves or from exploitation by others.
Yet the arrangement may result in covert abuse against the elderly, disabled and other vulnerable people. They can also lead to financial abuse, with those in power embezzling funds.
âA group of people have been galvanized by learning of the atrocities that occur in abusive guardianship and they cannot stand idly by,â said Cassandra Dumas, a 32-year-old activist from Arlington, Va., Who co-founded the group. Free Britney America.
Leanne Simmons sees much more to be done around Ms Spears ‘case, predicting future fights over Ms Spears’ finances and possible criminal prosecution.
âThis story will likely be in the news for years to come,â she said. Although the 31-year-old Free Britney LA co-host works in TV production, she is now considering going to law school.
Mr Spears, who took credit for helping rebuild his daughter’s career, has long insisted he was trying to protect his business with the trusteeship. On Wednesday, his lawyer pleaded for a complete end to the arrangement. Ms Spears ‘attorney obtained the stay instead, improving her ability to investigate Mr Spears’ actions throughout the term of guardianship.
The rallying cry “Free Britney” is not going to go away anytime soon, said Babs Gray, 38, whose “Britney’s Gram” podcast with Los Angeles comedian Tess Barker helped ignite the movement. âI think it will be in pop culture forever,â she said.
Support for Ms. Spears extends everywhere, from Peloton courses to the neon green underwear of a winner of âRuPaul’s Drag Raceâ. The Free Britney hashtag is now a shortcut for a friendly feminism brand.
There is also a cottage industry for those looking to profit from the notoriety of the business.
Some small businesses are making goods – a beer and a cannabis product named after the pop singer – and the internet is drowning under T-shirts (including 10,000 of a British outfit that mistakenly printed “#FreeBrittany” ).
A few months ago, Timmy Woods picked up a denim jacket that she says bears the authentic Britney Spears signature. She just posted the item on Etsy for $ 10,000.
“It got so much publicity recently that I thought it would be a good time if I was going to sell it,” said Ms. Woods, a handbag designer in Beverly Hills, Calif., Who purchased the jacket. for $ 125 at an auction of about 20 years ago. She has already turned down an offer of $ 5,000, she said.
Those looking to cash in should be careful as Britney’s Free Supporters have proven to be a savvy bunch, boycotting any officially licensed merchandise in the past to avoid inadvertently funding the Trusteeship. And they helped land early political successes at state and federal levels as lawmakers answer the call for trusteeship reform.
Some Free Britney activists admit they might be lost once Ms Spears is, well, free.
More than a million people visited Britney Spears’ advocacy site BreatheHeavy last month, founder Jordan Miller said. Mr. Miller is now anticipating the next chapter, when his engagement numbers plummet.
“I think there will be this feeling of ‘What am I doing now? “, did he declare.
The 33-year-old Las Vegas marketing executive hopes to keep some traffic by expanding the site to include content on mental health, personal finance and other topics. To help him find his way, he hired a life coach.
Many supporters say “Free Britney” will be a turning point in their own lives.
âOnce you know everything we know about this very corrupt system that allows the abuse of our elderly and disabled communities, you can’t stop at Britney,â Ms. Radford said.
Write to Ellen Gamerman at [email protected]
Copyright Â© 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8