Court-ordered conservatorships and guardianships serve valid and important purposes, helping protect the rights of people who have been adjudicated as incapable of managing their own affairs. Of course, as with anything in life, sometimes such proceedings are obtained fraudulently or are improperly managed. That’s what some online bloggers, using the #FreeBritney hashtag online, claimed was the case with pop music star Britney Spears, whose father, Jamie Spears, has been her legal conservator since 2008.
In 2019, Britney’s social media accounts included postings about needing help. Shortly after that, she was admitted to a wellness facility for treatment. Fans speculated online that she hadn’t entered the facility of her own volition and instead was forced to go by her father, in his role as her conservator. In addition to online speculation, fans also staged a protest outside West Hollywood City Hall.
At least one blogger, Anthony Elia, claimed Jamie Spears was manipulating his daughter’s social media posts by deleting positive comments. Elia claimed these actions were intended to give the impression that Britney needed help simply for the purpose of justifying and maintaining his role as his daughter’s conservator. As conservator, Britney’s father receives compensation from Britney’s assets and controls decisions about financial matters.
Jamie Spears fought back in court, claiming the bloggers’ actions amounted to defamation. The judge hearing the matter apparently agreed, as Jamie recently won an injunction in court against Elia. That court order requires Elia to stop posting and commenting negatively about the conservatorship. It is important to note that it doesn’t appear there is any evidence that Spears’ father acted inappropriately in managing her affairs; the #FreeBritney movement simply appears to have taken on a life of its own on social media.
To learn more about estate planning and estate management, including conservatorships, contact The Estate Planning & Legacy Law Center today.