Britney Spears may not be a fan of her documentaries. But legal experts say they’ve undoubtedly helped her case.
Netflix’s “Britney vs. Spears” is the latest in a series of documentaries about the life and guardianship of Britney Spears that have been rolled out this year, setting a new focus and revealing troubling allegations that have helped hasten a possible end to the 13-year-old saga.
Although Spears, 39, has not appeared in any documentaries herself and has previously described retrospectives of her life as hypocritical, many legal experts agree that the publicity surrounding her case has helped examine her situation. from close.
The #FreeBritney fan movement was previously dismissed as a social media conspiracy theory by critics, but this year’s headlines helped legitimize the Trusteeship Reassessment Campaign.
“We are discovering something new almost every day, we are about to discover a host of other shocking and heartbreaking information,” said Tamar Arminak, a guardian lawyer who worked with the parents of actress Amanda. Bynes. “Months ago, I never would have imagined this kind of information about Britney’s case, and I’m afraid this was just the tip of the iceberg.”
Hulu and FX released “Framing Britney Spears” in February, a New York Times documentary that pushed concerns of #FreeBritney into mainstream audiences. Since then, the BBC, CNN and Netflix have all released their own documentaries.
Netflix documentary filmmaker Erin Lee Carr, which debuted on Tuesday, features interviews with controversial figures from Spears’ past, including her ex-boyfriend and paparazzo Adnan Ghalib and ex-manager Sam Lutfi. It also includes documents and text messages, which Carr pours out to piece together the singer’s past. Those NBC News interviewed had yet to see the document, but said it was still likely to have an impact.
The latest New York Times documentary, which debuted Friday, brought new allegations against the singer’s father, James “Jamie” Spears.
A former assistant of Black Box, a security company employed by the supervisory authority, alleged that Jamie Spears asked to monitor all of Britney Spears’ communications, including those with Samuel Ingham, her former lawyer. He also accused the firm of having planted a recording device in the singer’s house.
Edan Yemini, CEO of Black Box Security, did not respond to detailed questions about the allegations, according to the Times.
Vivian Thoreen, lawyer for Jamie Spears, said her client had “dedicated her life” to helping her daughter change her life. She went on to say that “all of her actions were well within the parameters of the authority vested in her by the court.”
These allegations are likely to have a “huge” impact on Britney Spears’ case, Arminak said. Conservatories are often a sealed deal, but documentaries have shed light on a hidden story, according to Arminak.
Britney Spears’ fiancé Sam Asghari told his Instagram followers last week that the past projects “left a bad taste” but that he didn’t blame the companies for putting them out. He said he interviewed the producers who make them “without input or approval of the subject.” In a comment on Instagram, he also said he hoped that “the profit from these docs will be used to fight injustice #freebritney. “
Arminak says it’s understandable Britney Spears isn’t a fan of documentaries, considering how long she has reportedly been silenced.
“Even though these documentaries grab attention and change her tutelage – which she wanted – it must still be frustrating for someone like her who has no control over how this story is told,” Arminak said. . “No matter how good it may be, it must be frustrating not being able to tell your own story because at the center of all these documentaries is Britney, who is a human being.”
Concerns about how Britney Spears is portrayed through these projects are not invalid, even with the positive attention she pays to her case. High-level attention can sometimes be a double-edged sword, said Danny Cevallos, NBC News legal analyst.
“Any information that shows strange behavior, even if it’s Instagram clips taken out of context, it could really be bad for her,” Cevallos said. “On the other hand, the New York Times documentary arguably drew attention to its plight and the controversies surrounding the nature of guardianship nationwide.”
That Britney Spears was not part of her own story is part of the criticism of guardianship more broadly, said Zoe Brennan-Krohn, staff attorney for the ACLU’s Disability Rights Program.
Until the case was recently unsealed and the singer gave public testimony, Brennan-Krohn pointed out, the world depended on Jamie Spears’ take on trusteeship.
“The concept of guardianship or losing your rights may be an abstract concept for some people, but revelations in the most recent documentaries and reports have made concrete what it really looks like,” said Brennan-Krohn. “It means that someone is listening to your phone calls, watching your daily movements, or deciding on your birthday – it really got people across who haven’t really given a thought to what it means to be in a guardianship.”
Jamie Spears is unlikely to have filed for termination of guardianship this month without public scrutiny, added Neama Rahmani, president and co-founder of West Coast Trial Lawyers.
“Unfortunately, it takes public attention to an issue for there to be a change … The attention the case has received is causing the public to rethink how we have handled issues like guardianship over of American history, ”said Rahmani.
Britney Spears’ next hearing will be on Wednesday.