Global pop culture icon Britney Spears has been in and out of the news as of late, following her release from a 13-year conservatorship earlier this year. Under the court-ordered legal agreement, Spears’ father maintained total control over the singer’s estate, finances, and many other aspects of her life.
Earlier this year, the New York Times released an Emmy-nominated documentary on Spears, bringing to light the many concerning details of her struggle under the conservatorship and her battle across more than a decade to regain control of her own faculties. Entitled Framing Britney Spears, the film featured interviews providing crucial insider perspective.
This past Friday, with little prior notice, a surprise sequel entitled Controlling Britney Spears premiered on FX and the streaming platform Hulu. According to a press release from FX and Hulu, the new film is billed as “an explosive follow-up documentary, featuring new allegations from insiders with intimate knowledge of Britney’s daily life inside the conservatorship.” The film released just days ahead of another highly-anticipated documentary detailing Britney’s legal struggles: Netflix’s Britney Vs. Spears.
Under United States law, a conservatorship is the appointment of an individual by court-order as a guardian or protector, to manage the daily life and financial affairs of another individual due to old age, or limitations of physical or mental nature. While the situations that lead to these arrangements can vary, most conservatorship are placed due to permanent disability, coma, or illness which effects the mental capacity of an individual, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. Spears’ father became the sole conservator of his daughter’s estate in 2008, granting him full control over many vital decisions in Spears’ life, from financial transactions to medical care. For years, Britney has been speaking out publicly against her father’s actions, alleging blatant abuse of the system.
Director Samantha Stark elaborated on the details of the surprise sequel film in statement to press.
“When Britney spoke publicly about her conservatorship in detail for the first time during a court hearing in June, she said a reason she hadn’t spoken up earlier is she didn’t think people would believe her. She said she felt abused under the conservatorship,” Stark explained. “[She] questioned whether the judge thought she was lying. Britney’s speech motivated the people in this film to seek us out and share their stories—at great risk to themselves—because they felt compelled to back up what Britney was saying with evidence they had, or moments they’d witnessed.”
Producer Liz Day added:
“Britney’s situation raises a lot of important questions about the conservatorship system at large, and whether it is working properly. We felt that it was in the public interest to examine that.”
Controlling Britney Spears and its preceding film, Framing Britney Spears, are both currently available for streaming on Hulu, free for subscribers.