Over the past few days, the hashtag #FreeBritney has been trending on Twitter. Here we look at the story behind the hashtag, as well as the response from Britney Spears herself...
What is #FreeBritney?
Earlier this month, pop star Britney Spears reportedly checked herself into a mental health facility in Los Angeles. It came following news of her father Jamie Spears' poor health, as well as news that her Las Vegas residency had been cancelled.
However, rumours quickly started to circulate that Britney was being held at the facility against her will. Fans of the 37-year-old quickly believed these rumours to be true; taking it upon themselves to campaign for her freedom.
Not only do they want the singer to be let out of the mental health facility, but they also want her to gain freedom from what they believe is a "controlling" management team.
Thus, hashtag #FreeBritney was born.
She does NOT look well. I truly believe something horrible is happening to this woman by the people who should be protecting her. This is all terrifying for her. #FreeBritney pic.twitter.com/3czm23wZGM
— Jem (@JustJem24) April 22, 2019
A legal issue
Since her mental health hit the headlines in 2007, Britney Spears has supposedly been under a ‘conservatorship’. This means that her full estate and finances are under the control of conservators; namely her attorney Andrew Wallet and her father, Jamie Spears.
After 10 years in the role, Wallet resigned from the job in March, leaving Britney’s dad as the sole conservator of her estate. This, in conjunction with rumours Britney is being held captive, meant that fans’ worries quickly increased.
The #FreeBritney situation escalated quickly, with fans moving from Twitter to group protests. On Monday, one group of protesters gathered outside the West Hollywood City Hall with signs saying, "Free Britney" and "Truth Will Set Her Free."
Others have been chanting for Larry Rudolph, Britney's long-time manager, to be fired.
Now, Britney herself has weighed in on the rumours; saying that #FreeBritney protesters have sent her family "death threats"; adding that she's okay but currently needs some privacy.
— Absolute Britney (@absolutebritney) April 22, 2019
Taking to Instagram overnight, Britney shared a video in which she said, "Hi guys, just checking in with all of you who are concerned about me.
"All is well. My family has been going through a lot of stress and anxiety lately, so I just needed time to deal. But don't worry: I'll be back very soon."
Then, in a caption beneath the post, the Mississippi-native added, "I wanted to say hi because things that are being said have just gotten out of control! Wow!" she wrote. "There are rumours, death threats to my family and my team, and just so many things crazy things being said.
"I promise I’m doing what’s best at this moment. You may not know this about me, but I am strong, and stand up for what I want..."
"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. These fake emails everywhere were crafted by Sam Lutfi years ago... I did not write them. He was pretending to be me and communicating with my team with a fake email address.
"My situation is unique, but I promise I’m doing what’s best at this moment. You may not know this about me, but I am strong, and stand up for what I want!
"Your love and dedication is amazing, but what I need right now is a little bit of privacy to deal with all the hard things that life is throwing my way. If you could do that, I would be forever grateful. Love you."
View this post on Instagram
Sam Lutfi's response
Sam Lutfi, who is Britney Spears' former manager and friend, has responded to Britney's Instagram post. On Twitter, he alleges Britney was forced to share that video to divert attention away from her current management.
"Britney’s Instagram post has accused me of fabricating emails of hers that have been circulating recently," he wrote.
"I can unequivocally state that I never wrote nor had access to her email. Her team’s desperate attempt to deflect negative attention onto me (yet again) is a rather ineffective way to overshadow the #FreeBritney movement.
"In addition to making certain people in her camp look bad, the emails in question show a woman capable of running her own life, a narrative they apparently want to hide," Sam said.
— Sam Lutfi (@SamLutfi) April 19, 2019
Photo: Britney Spears via Instagram
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