“Britney Vs. Spears” will debut on Netflix on Sept. 28. The next day, Sept. 29, marks the most significant court hearing, to date, in the singer’s long and drawn-out legal battle, as she fights for her freedom out of the conservatorship that she’s been under for more than a decade with her father, Jamie Spears, largely acting as her sole conservator.
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In the trailer, the pop star’s voiceover is heard from an audio recording of her June 23 testimony at the Los Angeles Superior Courthouse, where she addressed the court, for the first time publicly, telling the judge that she is traumatized. “I’ve worked my whole life,” Spears’ voice says in the trailer. “I don’t owe these people anything.”
The doc’s title, “Britney Vs. Spears,” is a play on the singer’s battle against her father, who she has accused of “conservatorship abuse,” asking a judge this summer to “press charges” against him.
The Netflix project, directed by filmmaker Erin Lee Carr, has been in the works for more than a year. The doc is said to center around Spears’ conservatorship, featuring key figures in the singer’s orbit. It is unclear — though highly unlikely — that Spears will appear in the project, given how closely guarded she has been from media opportunities throughout the course of her conservatorship.
This past June, Spears gave her first public testimony, though she had spoken in court before in 2019, pleading to Judge Brenda Penny to terminate her conservatorship without further evaluation. She detailed harrowing allegations, including being prevented from getting married and having a baby by being forced to keep in her IUD birth control device. (This month, Spears announced her engagement to longtime boyfriend, actor Sam Asghari.)
Earlier this summer, Spears was granted the ability to hire her own lawyer, after having worked with a court-appointed attorney, ever since she was placed under the conservatorship in 2008. The singer hired Mathew Rosengart as her counsel, and since bringing him on, the case has seen more movement than in the past 13 years.
The star’s legal saga hit a major curveball earlier last month when her father said he would agree to work with the court on stepping down as conservator of his daughter’s estate. Then, he abruptly petitioned the court to terminate the conservatorship altogether.
Rosengart has accused the elder Spears of “dissipating” his client’s multi-million dollar fortune and claims he was trying to extort $2 million from his daughter’s estate, in exchange to step down from the conservatorship.
While that in itself is a major victory for Spears, her father’s legal strategy is complex and self-serving, according to experts who caution what steps the court may take at next week’s hearing. Spears’ attorney, Rosengart, still has not asked the court to terminate the conservatorship, and it remains to be seen what the court will determine is in the singer’s best interest.
The Netflix documentary is not the first Spears-centric project. The New York Times produced a doc for Hulu and FX, “Framing Britney Spears,” which took a look at the highly unusual conservatorship case, the #FreeBritney movement and the misogynistic media narrative that has framed the pop star throughout her entire career in the spotlight. That doc has been credited with catapulting public interest in the high-profile case, and was nominated for two Emmy awards.
The singer, who has been very vocal on her social media accounts lately, has not yet commented on the Netflix doc and it’s unclear whether she was reached for the project or aware of it before it was announced this week.
Watch the trailer here:
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