First modification: 07/11/2021 – 00:17
The movement to “free” the singer Britney Spears went viral on the networks and reached the United States Capitol. The artist has been under a legal figure that controls her money and her life for 13 years, and now she has shed light on the abuses that are committed under the so-called curatorship or ‘conservatorship’, and in which there are around 1.3 million Americans.
In 2019, Britney Spears fans launched a campaign that years later would undergo an unexpected turn. When they learned that the singer had entered a mental health facility after disappearing from public life and having canceled a long-awaited show in Las Vegas, they speculated that she was being held there against her will. They used their social media to launch an online campaign called #FreeBritney, which translates to “free Britney,” which has gone viral in recent weeks.
It all started on “Britney’s Gram”, a podcast dedicated to discussing the publications of the pop princess on Instagram. Users suggested that lately Britney’s account on this social network was not being managed by her and that, through her photographs, she was sending hidden messages asking for help. #FreeBritney, which was seen as a conspiracy theory, quickly became a way to publicly pressure the US justice to release her from her father, who shares a legal guardianship that has controlled the finances and personal life of the artist for 13 years. years.
The scrutiny of the conservatorship system
But beyond exposing the reality of Britney Spears, the movement has focused on this type of legal guardianship in the United States, known as curadurías or ‘conservatorship’, and on which numerous cases of abuse that had not been reported had previously been reported. been so media.
The massive scrutiny over guardianships came especially after the New York Times documentary “Framing Britney Spears,” which details the singer’s legal battle with her father over his not being her guardian.
During a hearing at the end of June, Britney denounced that, in addition to being medicated, isolated from her friends and having been forced to work non-stop, she is prohibited from removing an intrauterine device so that she cannot have children.
Although it is largely legal for people under this tutelage to not be able to make their own decisions, activists, feminist movements, and human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union describe this figure as abusive and denounce that there is a violation of civil rights and liberties.
How does legal guardianship or ‘conservatorship’ work?
Conservatorship varies by state, but in California, for example, when the court finds that someone does not have the capacity to manage their own affairs, a person or organization is assigned to take care of their finances or their personal care.
The protégés are generally older adults, or people with mental or physical disabilities. The conservator can be a family member, a friend or a professional appointed by the court. Anyone connected with the case can request the annulment of the guardianship and the ward must demonstrate his ability to handle his own affairs. After that, the judge must make a decision.
According to Britney, she herself was unaware that she could request to end her guardianship. Her father has been her tutor since 2008, after the remembered crisis that the artist suffered and that raised concerns about her mental health. His diagnoses have never been made public and he questions why someone his age, 39, has been placed under legal guardianship for not being considered capable of managing his life, but of working as he has done for the last decade releasing albums, doing live performances and world tours.
From the internet to the United States Capitol
The discussion about Britney’s case has not only been driven by fans of the artists and international celebrities, but has also reached the United States Capitol. The Republican senator for the state of Texas, Ted Cruz, said that it seemed to him an abuse of the judicial system. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Congress should review laws to do something about it.
For her part, the former Democratic presidential candidate and senator for the state of Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren, pointed out that Britney’s case shows the long-standing gaps in the guardianship system that can leave people “vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.” , and therefore asked the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice to review these problems.
The cases of abuse that have been presented under the curatorships inspired the Netflix movie called “Descuida, Yo Te Cuido”, which is about how legal guardians who take advantage of their protégés to profit. According to official figures, around 1.3 million people in the country are under this type of guardianship, which represents a total of 50,000 million dollars in assets under the control of third parties.