The hashtag #FreeBritney started trending again on Twitter on Tuesday. The decade-long movement aims to bringing awareness to former pop star Britney Spears’s struggle with mental health and questioning the legality of her guardianship by her father.
While there are multiple websites and podcasts devoted to the cause and many celebrities have joined in posting or sharing the hashtag, the most recent development came with a string of posts on Spears’s social media that led some to believe she was being held against her will.
According to YahooEntertainment, fans commented on some of Spears’s recent social media posts telling her to wear yellow in her next video if she needed help. In her next post, Spears was sporting a yellow crop top and even mentioned it in her caption.
“I was so excited I threw on my favorite yellow shirt and just had to SHARE,” she wrote.
Another commenter asked Spears to post doves if she was in trouble, so when Spears posted a painting depicting doves, many fans started speculating.
Fans and followers of the movement decided this was enough evidence to take action and petitioned the White House in early July about Spears, asking for Britney to regain the ability to hire a lawyer.
“She has tried over the years to fight, attempts were shut down. Please look into this case. Every American deserves civil liberties,” the petition reads.
The #FreeBritney movement first began when Spears, a popular singer in the 1990s and early 2000s, encountered a string of tough circumstances and “an alleged breakdown” that included her committed to a psychiatric ward in California at least twice in 2008.
These circumstances caused her father, Jamie Spears, to file for a “temporary conservatorship” of Spears and her estate with the L.A. County Superior Court. Attorney Andrew Wallet was added as a co-conservator to Britney’s estate. According to the Los Angeles Times, this request granted Britney’s father the ability to “power to negotiate business opportunities, sell her property and restrict her visitors” as well as “file for restraining orders against those he believes threaten his daughter’s stability.”
The conservatorship, however, soon became permanent and lasted throughout the last decade with relatively few adjustments. One of these adjustments occurred in March when Wallet resigned from his position as co-conservator, saying that Britney would experience “substantial detriment, irreparable harm and immediate danger” if he continued.
While she continued her career over the last 10 years by releasing multiple albums, serving as a judge on “The X Factor,” and keeping a residency in Las Vegas, some were not convinced this was all Spears’s doing. A voicemail aired on an episode of the popular podcast “Britney’s Gram” in April also led fans to question whether Spears was in danger and forced into her current lifestyle.
The caller, who claimed to be a paralegal in a firm on Spears’s conservatorship case, said Spears did not have full autonomy over her decision to pull out of her previously planned Las Vegas residency. Spears, however, claimed the decision was a result of her father’s health condition and recent surgery and even took to social media to reassure her fans.
“There’s rumors, death threats to my family and my team, and just so many things crazy things being said. I am trying to take a moment for myself, but everything that’s happening is just making it harder for me. Don’t believe everything you read and hear,” she wrote.
In addition, Spears’s former photographer released an alleged letter from Spears in 2009 claiming that she was “lied to and set up” by her father when negotiating the conservatorship.
While many still theorize about Spears’s condition, the #FreeBritney movement has not gone unnoticed by the Spears family. According to the Los Angeles Times, Jamie Spears sued blogger Anthony Elia in early June for “spreading false and defamatory information in the name of the #FreeBritney movement.”
“She’s always involved in every career and business decision,” attorney Stanton Stein reassured the public. “Period.”