#FreeBritney: How celebrities, fans are coming together to avenge toxic 2000s treatment of a young Britney Spears

THE NEW YORK TIMES PRESENTS "Framing Britney Spears" Episode 6 (Airs Friday, February 5, 10:00 pm/ep) -- Behind the scenes during the shoot for the “Lucky” music video in 2000. A moment captured by Britney’s assistant and friend Felicia Culotta. CR: FX

Activists across America are sounding the alarm to pop idol Britney Spears’ ongoing legal battle with her father, Jamie Spears, who currently acts as a co-conservator over her finances. A legal arrangement usually reserved for the elderly in which a guardian is judicially appointed to oversee the financial affairs of an individual with physical or mental health limitations, Spears’ conservatorship began in 2008 after her infamous, on-camera mental breakdown.

Spears’ social media accounts consistently spark serious concerns, as fans believe her cryptic posts to be desperate cries for help. “Britney’s Gram,” the podcast that spearheaded the #FreeBritney movement, even increased in popularity following their speculations about Spear’s last rehab stint.

Embed from Getty Images

#FreeBritney gained additional traction with the new special “New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears.” The documentary premiered on Feb. 5, 2021 on the CNET and is now available on Hulu.

The hour-long special dives deep into explaining Spears’ career and the heartbreaking treatment triggering her 2007 breakdown and ongoing battle with her father. The show provides insight on Spears’ mental health and public image, both weaponized against her for the sake of her father’s lust for money.

The aftermath of the documentary was explosive. Both fans and celebrities alike are banning together in support of Spears, with boyfriend Sam Asghari even taking to Instagram to explain his souring relationship with Spears’ father.

“Now it’s important for people to understand that I have zero respect for someone trying to control our relationship and constantly throwing obstacles our way,” wrote Asghari, 27. “In my opinion, Jamie is a total d*ck.”

The personal trainer later spoke to “People Magazine,” saying “I have always wanted nothing but the best for my better half and will continue to support her following her dreams and creating the future she wants and deserves.”

“I am thankful for all of the love and support she is receiving from her fans all over the world, and I am looking forward to a normal, amazing future together,” the personal trainer continued.

Embed from Getty Images

Justin Timberlake is also taking heat, with fans criticizing his behavior after the famous Spears-Timberlake split of 2002, claiming that the singer went out of his way to smear her reputation and that his mistreatment of women in the industry is not a one-time occurrence. As a response, Timberlake took to Instagram, writing “I understand that I fell short in these moments and in many others and benefited from a system that condones misogyny and racism.”

“I specifically want to apologize to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually because I care for and respect these women, and I know I failed,” he wrote. While many are happy he finally spoke out, other fans felt that it was too late.

The road to freeing Spears is a long one. The legal battle is ongoing and extensive and is going to be very complicated. The light at the end of the tunnel, however, is that it is not 2007. We now have a better understanding of mental health that goes beyond jokes and cheap shots. While “Framing Britney Spears” came off as a tragic story, with continued support, it could become a triumphant one.

Featured image is a screen grab from “New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears.”