More details of Britney Spears’s involuntary conservatorship have been revealed, and they seem to further support her argument that the controlling arrangement, which limits her freedom to seek her own legal representation or remove an IUD, is not in her best interest. Today, Ronan Farrow and Jia Tolentino published a longform New Yorker investigation into the conservatorship, in which they reveal that according to law enforcement in Ventura County, California, “Spears called 911 to report herself as a victim of conservatorship abuse” the night before her recent court hearing. Apparently, this led to the conservatorship requesting that the June 23 transcripts be sealed, a request that Spears contested before giving her testimony.
The article includes an interview with Jacqueline Butcher, a former Spears family friend who regrets giving the testimony that helped seal Spears’s conservatorship in 2008, in a court process which she says “’was maybe ten minutes’,” without Britney’s presence or input, and which she was led to believe was only for a temporary arrangement. Butcher recounts moments of verbal and emotional abuse directed from Jamie Spears toward Britney, using his conservatorship power to demean and manipulate his daughter in the early months of the conservatorship. Butcher recalls him telling her, “‘You’re fat. Daddy’s gonna get you on a diet and a trainer, and you’re gonna get back in shape,’” as well as “telling her she was a whore and a terrible mother.” Butcher says she often heard Jamie “bellowing, ‘I am Britney Spears!’” during the early years of his court-sanctioned control over Britney’s life.
The article also reveals that on “the petition to establish the arrangement, Jamie or someone working with him checked a box indicating that Spears had dementia.” Over the years, the conservatorship has had to maintain to the courts that Britney Spears was unfit to exit the arrangement. To demonstrate how Spears’s team approaches keeping that particular narrative up, photographer Andrew Gallery recounts a time when he contacted Spears’s management to “give him a recommendation for his application to graduate school. He said that the manager refused, telling him that any such document would serve as proof that Spears was of sound mind.” This investigation came days after Spears’s co-conservator, Bessemer Trust, filed a request to resign from the conservatorship following Britney’s testimony.