- 05 Jul 21
The New Yorker report, by Ronan Farrow and Jia Tolentino, details a 911 call made by Spears the night before her testimony, and alleges years of control and mistreatment of the singer at the hands of her father and management.
A report by The New Yorker has shed light on more allegations of the mistreatment and abuse Britney Spears has been subject to under her conservatorship.
The report, written by Ronan Farrow and Jia Tolentino, highlights alleged mistreatment of Spears by her father Jamie Spears, who had been the conservator of his daughter's person and finances since 2008, up until 2018.
It comes in the wake of Spears' explosive testimony in an LA court on June 23rd, where she called her situation 'abusive,' and detailing how she was refused permission by her guardians to remove an IUD and forced to take other medications – including lithium – after disagreeing with her managers. She described how she was forced to work against her will, financially restricted, and compared herself to a victim of sex-trafficking. She also took aim at the Californian legal system that had allowed her to be placed in the conservatorship in the first place.
In their report, Farrow and Tolentino speak with her mother Lynne Spears, ex-family friend Jacqueline Butcher, former friend Sam Lufti, and a number of people who worked around her, including a one-time housekeeper.
It describes how on June 22nd, the evening before her testimony, Spears called 911, to report herself as a victim of an abusive conservatorship. This apparently prompted frantic concern from those on her team, for fear of what she would say in her testimony, and is likely what prompted the request from legal representation for the conservatorship to ask the judge to seal her remarks that day.
“Members of Spears’ team began texting one another frantically. They were worried about what Spears might say the next day, and they discussed how to prepare in the event that she went rogue,” the report noted.
Although emergency calls in California are usually public record, Spears’ call has been sealed by local law enforcement because it is part of an ongoing investigation.
The report also reveals that Spears had concerns about her father being appointed to her conservatorship from the very beginning in 2008. While hospitalised under a 5150 involuntary psychiatric hold, she contacted an attorney, Adam Streisand, to represent her in a hearing about the conservatorship. “He represented her in a court hearing on February 4th , attesting that Spears had a ‘strong desire’ that Jamie not be a conservator,” Farrow and Tolentino write.
Spears was later deemed incapable of appointing her own attorney, and the court appointed Samuel Ingham III to represent her. He remains her legal counsel to this day.
Jacqueline Butcher is a former family friend of the Spears family. She told The New Yorker the "the whole process was maybe ten minutes. No one testified. No questions were asked." The report also states that Lynne Spears, Britney's mother, wasn't a co-conservator because she thought the conservatorship would only last for a few months, and that Jamie quickly took control of it anyway.
Among many allegations of mistreatment of Spears at the hands of her father, Butcher describes an incident where she says Jamie told his daughter; "'You’re fat. Daddy’s gonna get you on a diet and a trainer, and you’re gonna get back in shape.'" She also told The New Yorker that in the following weeks, "Jamie wore Spears down." "He would get all in her face—spittle was flying—telling her she was a whore and a terrible mother."
She also detailed how after the conservatorship was in place, all of Spears' household staff, including the former housekeeper interviewed by Farrow and Tolentino, were fired by Jamie and replaced with staff who would report back to him on Spears' actions.
In the wake of Spears' testimony, and the allegations within, Jamie Spears' legal team have called for an investigation into the claims Spears made on June 23rd, and have requested an evidentiary hearing.
The request, made on June 29th, state that "it is critical that the Court confirm whether or not Ms. Spears’s testimony was accurate in order to determine what corrective actions, if any, need to be taken."
Many celebrities have come out in support of the #FreeBritney movement after her testimony, including her former Mickey Mouse Club castmate and fellow pop-star Christina Aguilera along with other 90s pop contemporaries like Mariah Carey and Brandy. Spears' ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake, who already issued an apology to Britney in the wake of the Framing Britney Spears documentary, has also tweeted his support.
Read the full New Yorker report here.