FreeBritney rallies have grown around the country since the pop star spoke out against her conservatorship in court last month.
The contentious fight over Britney Spears’ conservatorship entered a new phase after the singer’s scathing testimony in front of Los Angeles probate judge Brenda Penny in June, during which the pop star offered a harrowing account of the last 13 years of her life.
Since 2008, Spears’ life has been controlled by a conservatorship led by her once-estranged father, James “Jamie” Spears. The conservatorship has been credited by some with helping right Spears’ career after a tumultuous 2008 ended with a 5150 involuntary psychiatric hold; since then, Spears has put out hit albums, toured the world, and starred in a Las Vegas residency. But in her testimony, Spears claimed that her father and others enlisted to oversee her life and career have forced her to work ceaselessly; she even goes so far as to compare her seven-days-a-week, no-days-off schedule to sex trafficking. Spears, who also has a personal conservator, Jodi Montgomery, alleged that she was prescribed medication like lithium against her will and told she was not allowed to get married, have another child, or have her IUD removed.
Spears’ testimony seemed to confirm all the suspicions about the nature of her conservatorship raised by the pop star’s supporters in the #FreeBritney movement. The movement traces its origins back to fans Tess Barker and Barbara Gray, who launched the Britney’s Gram podcast in November 2017; it soon blossomed into a coterie of dedicated fans who often show up in support of Spears at court hearings and comb through her social media posts for any clues as to how the pop star might really be feeling.
And while their public campaign has been going on for several years now, the movement has significantly accelerated and reached a wider public consciousness in 2021 thanks to a major documentary, unsealed court documents, and Spears’ own testimony. Spears’ pop star peers, including Pink, Christina Aguilera, and Mariah Carey have all rallied behind her, while ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake was compelled to apologize for the way he fueled tabloid treatment of her after their breakup.