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New Britney Spears documentary claims singer has been under “intense surveillance” during conservatorship

By | Published on Monday 27 September 2021

Britney Spears

A follow-up to FX and Hulu’s documentary ‘Framing Britney Spears’ aired in the US on Friday night. ‘Controlling Britney Spears’ makes new allegations about the musician’s treatment under her thirteen year conservatorship.

It claims that Spears was placed under “intense surveillance” that monitored her every move and every telephone conversation. Almost everyone she worked with was forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement, with many of those who agreed to appear in the new film breaking said agreements in order to speak out.

“Almost everyone we talked to had signed an NDA”, the documentary’s director, Samantha Stark, tells Variety. “That was a big concern. A lot of people who saw things were really [intimidated] because they could see how much money these lawyers cost that were working for the conservatorship and they were thinking, ‘How could I ever go up against these people?'”

What changed – prompting both the making of this second documentary and convincing people to speak out – was Spears’ own testimony in June, in which she made various claims about her poor treatment.

Producer Liz Day adds that she hopes that Britney’s case will prompt a wider examination of the conservatorship system in the US. “I’m really curious to see if it sparks a broader examination of the conservatorship system”, she says. “One of the trickiest things with this story was figuring out whether some of this stuff is legal or not, like monitoring text messages and recording someone in a private place. That could be a violation of the law, but it’s really hard to know if the court was aware of this”.

“Britney’s security said that everything was in the bounds of the law, but we don’t know if that’s true”, she goes on. “We spoke to conservatorship experts and we couldn’t really get a clear answer – people we spoke to thought that shouldn’t be legal, but the fact that we couldn’t say one way or the other because the records are sealed, I think is interesting and speaks a lot about the unknowns of conservatorships, in general”.

This is not the first time the legality of the actions of Spears’ conservators have been called into question, of course. Earlier this year it emerged that she herself had asked police to investigate possible illegal conduct.

The next court hearing to decide the future of Spears’ conservatorship is set to take place on Wednesday. Last week, her attorney Mathew Rosengart filed a petition to have her father Jamie Spears immediately removed from managing his daughter’s financial affairs. He also said that he will be pushing for the entire conservatorship arrangement to be ended by this autumn.

‘Controlling Britney Spears’ is not the only new documentary hitting screens in the run up to that court hearing. Tomorrow, Netflix is due to release its own film, ‘Britney v Spears’.