Britney Spears thanks fans for being supportive in a new instagram post. (Screen captures via Instagram)
The Free Britney Spears movement may never come to fruition, a lawyer for a top civil liberties organisation has said.
Spears, 38, has been entangled in a complex legal arrangement known as a conservatorship since her public breakdown in 2007. In the years since, the arrangement put in place to control certain aspects of her life, such as her financial affairs and estate, have been shuffled around with the musician having limited say.
After singer failed in a bid to strip her father Jamie Spears – who has been in charge of her affairs for much of the past 12 years – from the conservatorship, the American Civil Liberties Union has offered its support, but explained why calls to Free Britney may never be answered.
In a tweet, the ACLU wrote: “People with disabilities have a right to lead self-directed lives and retain their civil rights.
“If Britney Spears wants to regain her civil liberties and get out of her conservatorship, we are here to help her.”
People with disabilities have a right to lead self-directed lives and retain their civil rights.
If Britney Spears wants to regain her civil liberties and get out of her conservatorship, we are here to help her. https://t.co/uLRakw7c4C
— ACLU (@ACLU) August 19, 2020
“We don’t know whether Spears identifies herself as disabled,” Zoe Brennan-Krohn, a staff attorney at the ACLU Disability Rights Project, explained to HuffPost.
“But we know that, by placing her under conservatorship, the court is de facto identifying her as disabled.”
Brennan-Krohn decried the conservatorship as a way in which disabled people — or those perceived as disabled by courts — “lose their civil rights and decision-making capabilities”.
She highlighted the “serious risks and harms” that pattern the arrangements, often involving abuse and neglect.
Britney Spears has no say over conservators.
Britney Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, has been his daughter’s co-conservator since 2008, overseeing her mental health, among other things. He temporarily stepped down in 2019 amid ill-health and was replaced by licensed professional conservator Jodi Montgomery.
On Monday (August 17) Britney, who has vastly remained silent on the matter, launched a legal bid to block her father from returning as co-conservator.
In a filing drawn up by her legal counsel, Samuel Ingham, she said she is “strongly opposed” to having Jamie return to steer her wellbeing and would prefer Montgomery to continue after her role expires on Saturday (August 22).
The court however ruled that no immediate changes would be made. Britney appeared to allude to the hearing and her fans’ support on her colourful Instagram Friday morning (August 21), thanking followers for “being so damn wonderful”.
Brennan-Krohn stressed that Spears has no say in who her legal guardian is.
“It is up to the court to decide who her conservator or conservators will be,” she said.
“Many people get into conservatorships not realising that the court – not the family, the conservator, or the person under conservatorship – is in charge.
“Conservatorships are much easier to get into than to get out of.
“Even if a conservatorship is instituted as a result of a temporary crisis, it often becomes effectively permanent. Extending long after the immediate crisis is passed, and is very hard to get out of.”
Jamie Spears, 68, reportedly filed a petition with the Superior Court of California, Los Angeles, Tuesday (August 18) to lawyer Andrew Wallet return as co-conservator.
Wallet, according to the documents seen by US Weekly, signed an affidavit to consent to being made Spears’ guardian again after resigning in March, 2019. A hearing for the motion is scheduled for September 16.