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How Britney Spears was trapped in a web of injustice


There are many villains in the story of pop star Britney Spears. There are critics who used it for sexting when she was a girl and as an expression of their opinions when she was a young woman. There are paparazzi who molested her when she was with her child. There are former friends, and admirers, and we, the demanding fans.

The justice system’s job is to identify the bad guys and send them in packs. Instead, for 13 years, the courts in California rewarded Spears’ father Jimmy, a failed businessman who suffered from alcoholism has filed for bankruptcy, according to the documentary Britney Spears framing, was often absent from his daughter’s childhood. They have enabled the most terrible villain of them all.

In 2008, when his daughter suffered an apparent mental crisis, Jamie asked the court to make him her guardian – that is, the legal guardian. he has Mostly retained power Where. She decides which friends to see, what medical treatment she receives and what happens to her estimated fortune of $60 million.

However, Spears made it clear from the start that she didn’t want him to have that much power. Her ex-lawyer said she was willing to accept a guardian, but not him Britney Spears framing. The court rejected her opinion, deeming her mentally unfit to hire a lawyer.

Spears is now 39, and for most of her adult life, she has been controlled by a man she doesn’t want in the role. She is seen as good enough to perform in thousands, but not to visit her friends.

On Wednesday, I heard the singer break her public silence about the situation in court in Los Angeles. Her evidence was terrifying. She said that those involved in running the guardianship, including her father, “should be in prison”; “I would honestly sue my family.”

They made her work seven days a week, took her credit cards and gave her no privacy when she undressed. “The only thing like that in California is sex trafficking,” she said. They did not allow her to remove an intrauterine device, because they did not want to have any more children. But they let the doctor prescribe her lithium “out of nowhere”.

In her younger days, Spears was remarkably composed. On Wednesday, she looked worried. She said, “I cry every day.” When I last spoke in court, I felt “like I’m dead, like I didn’t matter.” This time, she told the judge, “I wish I could be on the phone with you forever.”

Spears’ story is the opposite of some celebrity tragedies. Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson were surrounded by yes men. Spears surrounded by no men. as a result of, her story It is more global. Guardianship is widely abused in the United States. Professional guardians can identify elderly people, with minor health conditions, and tell the court that these people are unable to manage themselves, without the need to inform the people or their relatives.

Hearings may only last a few minutes. Then the guardian controls the life of a stranger. They can move them into a nursing home and sell their possessions to pay for it. Fees are rolling. What about the American justice system that produces such blatant injustices?

This practice was ridiculed in the movie I care so much. One Appreciation is that 1.5 million American adults, with $273 billion in assets, are in the hands of trustees. There are few examples of conservatives escaping arrangements.

Spears has a unique advantage for loyal fans, Britney’s free movement. The lesson from her case is that courts should care about people with disabilities and mental health issues, whether they are famous or not. The strongest constraints must come with stronger supervision. Right now, if you’re weak and rich in assets, the American justice system may not only fail to protect you from the bad guys, but it might also make it easier for them.

henry.mance@ft.com



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