Britney Spears has been co-battling against conservatorship since its inception thirteen years ago. The new Netflix documentary tells it Britney Vs. Spears. Directed by Erin Lee Carr and made with the collaboration of journalist Jenny Eliscu, the film tells the pervasiveness of the control exercised by his father Jamie Spears and reveals the singer’s numerous attempts to free himself from it.
Carr and Eliscu started working two years ago with the aim of telling the singer’s career and how she was portrayed by the media. “The story, however, has always been centered on the concepts of power and control,” says Carr in the first sequences of the film. “It is full of theories and conspiracies. And nobody wanted to talk about it. Then it happened ».
The documentary’s writers interviewed many people who are or were part of the singer’s life, including ex-boyfriend Adnan Ghalib (a paparazzo that Britney dated in 2008); former manager Sam Lufti; Andrew Gallery, a director who became friends with the singer while making a film about her for MTV. The documentary also features former assistant Felicia Culotta; the former dancer who accompanied her on tour Tania Baron; John Nazarian, a private investigator hired by his legal team in 2007; and Mark Vincent Kaplan, the attorney for singer Kevin Federline’s ex-husband.
The documentary extensively cites several confidential court documents that discuss Britney’s health and business. The story begins in 2007, more or less around the time of the divorce between Britney and Federline and just before the start of the conservatorship.
Britney Vs. Spears arrives only a few days later Controlling Britney Spears – another documentary we told you about here – and a day before a decisive hearing in the case. Here are some of the most impressive revelations contained in the film, which closes with the recording of the singer’s heartbreaking testimony last June.
1A geriatrician was instrumental in activating the conservatorship
Documents filed to kick off the conservatorship cite dementia as one of Britney’s major health problems. Last fall, however, an anonymous source contacted the authors of the documentary offering thousands of documents related to the case. This is how they obtained the documentation relating to a medical examination in 2008, carried out by a doctor who left the case in 2013. The medical report was heavy and said that the singer “is unable to understand or manage her finances without being subjected to conditioning.”
Carr found out the doctor’s name. This is James Edward Spar, a retired geriatrician and psychiatrist who specializes in dementia. Spar agreed to speak to the writers but denied ever meeting Britney Spears. “I’m not going to check if it happened,” he said.
Spar confirms that he has made his contribution to several conservatorships and says that the tool has always helped people, above all to “protect them, often an individual who wanted to get their hands on their assets”.
Eliscu, on the other hand, explains that the period in which Britney was visited is the same in which she returned to work. “He was on the set of the series How I Met Your Mother“, He says. “That episode came out two months into the conservatorship. How is it possible that such a sick person could work? ‘
2Jamie and Lynn Spears have painted the singer’s manager as dangerous
Sam Lufti, Britney’s former manager, wrote on Twitter that he had “failed” with the singer, but his testimony in the documentary goes much deeper. The two met in a bar when she asked him for his phone number. He was convinced he would never hear from her again, until one night she called him to ask for help. Lufti was an essential confidant during Britney and Kevin Federline’s divorce, advising her to stay close to her family during such a difficult time. According to her account, she replied: “The relationship I have with my family is different from the one you have with yours.”
In the period of initiation of the conservatorship, Lynne and Jamie Spears said that Lufti controlled Britney and drugged her – the claim was used to prevent her from exercising her right to contest the conservatorship within five days of activation. Those allegations are recounted in the documentary by Lorilee Cracker, Britney’s biographer. “No one has correctly recounted the level of crisis reached at the beginning of the conservatorship,” he says. “They thought they had to do it to protect her from Sam. He hid drugs from her in food and bragged about it. ‘ The director asks Cracker if he is 100% sure of what he says. “Yes,” he replies.
Lufti, however, says that the accusation was just a tool to give Jamie Spears control. “There are hundreds of blood tests,” he tells the documentary’s authors. “As long as I stayed with her, she always went through them all. That’s why the police never came looking for me. If you accuse someone of something as serious as drugging a world star, then you go to the police. Go to the FBI, not the TMZ. I was the perfect scapegoat. ‘
Lufti, who sued Lynne Spears for libel, says the family used it as a diversion. “Those five days would have allowed her to understand what was going on and contest everything,” he says. “Of course he would, everyone knew that. They did everything possible to prevent it from happening ».
3Jenny Eliscu has been secretly trying to find a new lawyer in Britney
Eliscu recounts how the conservatorship has changed the relationship between Britney and her record label. For a cover story by Rolling Stone US in 2008, a press officer told her she should have sent the questions ahead of time even though she had already interviewed the singer and they were on good terms. After this episode, Eliscu took a direct interest in Britney’s case and worked with Lufti and Ghalib to help her hire a new lawyer.
Since Lufti and Ghalib could no longer get close to the singer, they asked Eliscu to bring her a document at the Montage Beverly Hills in Los Angeles. The singer was supposed to sign those papers, in which it was stated that she did not trust the lawyer chosen by the court, Samuel Ingham, and that she wanted another one, namely John Anderson: “Ms. Spears is of the opinion that Ingham is not defending his interests, especially regarding the severe restrictive measures to which he is subjected ”.
At the Montage, Eliscu saw Britney in the pool, then waited for her in the bathroom with the document. When she arrived, he handed it to her and showed her where to sign, then they chatted. “He looked at me and thanked me, then we said goodbye,” recalls Eliscu crying. “She was really scared. It was difficult to understand because I was too, but he appreciated it very much ».
Requests in the document were not met. “They decided he was unable to choose a lawyer and challenged the authenticity of the signature,” says Eliscu. “I haven’t heard of it since, no one has mentioned it since. Even today no one says we tried to find another lawyer for her. ‘
4Britney also had to ask permission to eat a hamburger with her boyfriend
Among the documents delivered by the anonymous source there is also a medical report signed by the doctor who visited Britney’s ex-boyfriend, Jason Trawick. Initially, Trawick was opposed to conservatorship, then he became one of the tutors.
“Jason cites numerous hardships Britney endured during the conservatorship,” says Carr reading the document. “For example, they wanted to ride a golf cart in an area closed to the public, but to do so they had to ask for permission and wait for a response. The same happened if they wanted to go for a hamburger. If Britney needed a few hundred dollars to buy books for her children, she had to ask permission and wait a few days before receiving an answer. ‘
According to Carr, “this happened after she returned from a giant tour. It was the era of Femme Fatale“. It was at that time, in 2011, that the singer began to worry about the control exercised by her father.
“Britney started complaining that Jamie drank too much,” Carr reads from the document. “He clearly says he should be punished. This is the litmus test for all his conservatorship complaints. She simply thought that if he had to take drug tests, then he had to do them too. If the consequences of a failed test were as serious as losing children, then he had to expose himself to the same risk for alcohol… Britney wants to break free from conservatorship. ‘
The tale disproves the tutors, who have always stated that Britney has never asked to break free from the conservatorship. Carr reads another document: “Sometimes he seems to understand the benefits of guardianship. Others say they would prefer a conservatorship of goods only. In general, however, he wants to free himself from the protection of his person ”.
5Britney received more drugs on the days she worked
In 2012, the guardians signed a $ 15 million contract to make Britney a judge of X Factor. A medical examination, however, had determined that the transmission would put her under “excessive pressure”. However, manager Larry Rudolph made sure he stayed in his seat, he said leaving the show would be even worse. The medical team approved of the idea but made new provisions, including the obligation to have the boyfriend of the time, Trawick, on the set.
Carr cites a document explaining how Britney received more drugs when she was working. “The dosage was different from normal,” adds Eliscu looking at the document. He then reads: “On the one hand, Jamie and the team knew the benefits of stimulants on Britney’s performance. It happened during tours and participation in X Factor. At the same time, Jamie didn’t want him to take them. This contradiction has never been resolved ».
6Before the conservatorship began, Britney was hiring a lot of Adderall
Despite taking drugs throughout her conservatorship period, Britney was taking stimulants even before the guardianship was activated. Ghalib – who met her after he was assigned the task of chasing and photographing her – says he spent whole days with her, scared that something could happen to her while she was under her responsibility. She says that Britney was having a hard time, that ‘she couldn’t trust anyone, not even her father, mother, friends and sister. Nobody’s”.
“He was taking Adderall,” he tells the directors. “I’m sure millions of other people do, but these things become lethal weapons in a child custody trial.”
Ghalib also says that using the word “crazy” to describe Britney is wrong and unfair. “A lot of people say she’s crazy, don’t they? I hate that fucking word. Maybe she was angry? Or wounded? But not crazy. “
This article was translated by Rolling Stone US.