Ethics Quiz: Britney Spears’ Conservatorship

In 2008, a court placed pop super-star Britney Spears under a conservatorship led by her father, Jamie Spears, and attorney Andrew Wallet, giving them complete control of her assets after a series of incidents indicating that Britney suffered from various emotional problems and might be a danger to her children, herself, and most importantly, perhaps, her earning potential. The conservatorship has continued all of this time, and so has Spears’ performing and recording career along with her supplemental income as a professional celebrity. (She received a then-record salary of $15 million to be a panel judge on the American version of “X-Factor, for example.) For many years, apparently, Spears has been trying to end the conservatorship, and this week there was a court hearing on her request.

I’m going to stray from the usual practice in Ethics Alarms Ethics Quizzes by asking the question before the facts you need to base your answer on. The “facts” are contained in the now 39-year-old Britney Spears’ statement to the court, which she delivered over the phone. The question is this:

Is it ethical for Spears to be forced to continue under the control of her father?

A couple of points to consider was you read the transcript:

  • Spears’ children are now in their late teens, unlike when their welfare was a major consideration in granting the conservatorship.
  • She has been handled much like a performing monkey, working almost constantly, and not having control of her own funds.
  • Many who have seen her perform live report that she appears drugged or robotic.
  • While there is little doubt that Spears is not mentally or emotionally well, many, maybe even most, successful artists lie somewhere between madness and sanity, but they are seldom “normal.” Many have personal lives that spiral out of control, sometimes fatally. Many could be called dangers to themselves

How much do we value personal liberty and the freedom to live our own lives in the United States of America? Is making an artist like Britney Spears a virtual prisoner and robbing her of agency and autonomy necessarily better for her than allowing the singer to make her own choices, even bad ones?

Bill James once made an observation about the Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Rube Waddell (1876 – 1914) that stuck with me. James concluded from his study of Waddell that he was what we would call today “mentally challenged.” It wasn’t just that he was an out-of-control drunk to his dying day; he couldn’t take care of himself. His managers handled his money and doled it out as Rube needed. If he heard a fire engine go by the ball park, he was likely to leave the dugout and chase it if he wasn’t stopped. He sometimes missed a start because he was fishing or playing marbles with kids. Once he disappeared for days during spring training, and was found leading a parade down the main street of Jacksonville, Florida. Opposing players placed rubber snakes on the field to upset him, and he lost one game because an opposing manager had told him he has a puppy to give him and Rube kept thinking about the dog while he was pitching. Yet he had great physical gifts. James wrote that today someone like Waddell would be institutionalized, but in his era, he was left alone (to a point) to do what he wanted to do, and live his life. James asked which, in the end, is the kinder, more ethical approach by society.

Now here’s Britney:

Britney Spears: Okay, well, I just got a new phone, so bear with me. Okay so I have this one, I have a lot to say. So, um, bear with me. Basically a lot has happened in two years. I wrote all this down. Last time I was in court, I will be honest with you I haven’t been back to court in a long time because I don’t think I was heard on any level when I came to court the last time.I brought four sheets of paper in my hands and wrote at length, what I had been through the last four months before I came there. The people who did that to me, should not be able to walk away so easily. I’ll recap. I was on a tour in 2018 I was forced to do. My management said if I don’t do this tour…The people who did this to me should not get away and to be able to walk away so easily. recap. I was on tour in 2018. I was forced to do. My management said if I don’t do this tour I will have to find an attorney and by contract, their own management could sue me, if I didn’t follow through with a tour. He handed me a sheet of paper as I got off the stage in Vegas and said I had to sign it. It was very threatening and scary, it was a conservatorship.

I couldn’t even get my own attorney so out of fear, I went ahead and did the tour.When I came out that for a new show in Las Vegas was supposed to take place. I started rehearsing early, but it was hard because I’ve been doing Vegas for four years and I needed a break in between. But no, I was told this is the timeline and this is how it’s going to go. I rehearsed four to four and a half days a week. Half of the time in the studio and a half of the other time in a Westlake studio. I was basically directing, most of the show with my whereabouts, where I preferred to rehearse and actually did most of the choreography, meaning I taught my dancers, my new choreography myself. I take everything I do very seriously, there’s tons of videos with me at rehearsals, I wasn’t good. I was great.

It’s funny to hear my manager[‘s] side of the story, they all said I wasn’t participating in rehearsals, and I never agreed to take my medication, which with my medication is only taken in the mornings never at rehearsal. They don’t even see me. So why were they even claiming that?When I said no to one dance move into rehearsals, it was as if I planted a huge bomb somewhere, and I don’t want to live this way. After that my management, my dancers, and my assistant of the new people that were supposed to do the new show all went into a room, shut the door and didn’t come out for at least 45 minutes. Now I’m not here to be anyone’s slave, I can say no to a dance move. I was told by my at-the-time therapist, Dr. Benson who died, that manager called him and then that moment and told him I wasn’t cooperating, or following the guidelines and rehearsals. And he also said I wasn’t taking my medication, which is so dumb because I’ve had the same lady, every morning for the past eight years, give me my same medication, and I’m nowhere near these groups of people.

It made no sense at all.There was a week period where they, they were nice to me…and I told them I don’t want to do that. There was, they were nice to me, they said, If I don’t want to do the new Vegas show, I don’t have to, because I was getting really nervous. I said, I can wait. It was like, they told me I could wait. It was like lifting literally 200 pounds off of me when he when they said I don’t have to do the show anymore, because it was, I was really, really hard on myself and it was too much. I couldn’t take it anymore. So I remember telling my assistant, ‘but you know what I feel weird if I say no I feel like they’re gonna come back and be nice to me or punish me or something.’

Three days later after I said no to Vegas, my therapist sat me down in a room and said he had a million phone calls about how I was not cooperating at rehearsals, and I haven’t been taking my medication. All this was the problem. He immediately the next day put me on lithium, out of nowhere, he took me off my normal meds I’ve been on for five years and lithium is a very, very strong and completely different medication compared to what I was [unintelligible]. You can go mentally impaired if you take too much if you stay on it longer than five months, but he put me on that and I felt drunk, I really couldn’t even stand up for myself. I couldn’t even have a conversation with my mom or dad really about anything. I told him I was scared and my doctor had me on — six different nurses with this new medication come to my home stay with me to monitor me on this new medication, which I never wanted to be on to begin with.There were six different nurse, nurses in my home so they wouldn’t let me get my car to go anywhere for a month.

Not only did my family, not do a goddamn thing, my dad was all for it, anything that happened to me had to be approved by my dad and my dad only he acted like he didn’t know that I was told I had to be tested over the Christmas holidays before they sent me away when my kids went to home to Louisiana. He was the one who approved all of it. My whole family did nothing. Over the two week holiday a lady came into my home for four hours a day sat me down and did a psych test on me. It took forever. But I was I was told I had to then after that. I was, I had to then after I got a phone call from my dad day after I did the psych test with this lady, basically saying I failed the test or whatever, and whatever. ‘I’m sorry, Brittany, you have to listen to your doctors they are planning to send you to a small home in Beverly Hills to do a small rehab program that we’re going to make up for you. You’re going to pay $60,000 a month for this.’

I cried on the phone for an hour and he loved every minute of it. The control he had over someone as powerful as me as he loved to control to hurt his own daughter and 100,000%. He loved it.I packed my bags and went to that place. I worked seven days a week no days off, which in California the only similar thing to this is called sex trafficking. Making anyone work, work against their will, taking all their possessions away — credit cards, cash, phone, passport card and placing them in a home where they, they work with people who live with them. They offer, they all would be the nurses, the 24/7 security. There was one chef that came there and cooked for me daily on the during the weekdays. They watched me change every day naked, morning, noon and night. My body — I had no privacy door for my room. I gave eight gallons of blood a week. If I didn’t do any of my meetings and work from eight to six at night which is 10 hours a day, seven days a week, no days off, I wouldn’t be able to see my kids or my boyfriend.I never had a say in my schedule, they always told me how to do this, and ma’am, I will tell you, sitting in a chair 10 hours a day seven days a week, it ain’t fun. Especially when you can’t walk out the front door, and that’s why I’m telling you this again two years later, after I’ve lied and told the whole world, I’m okay. And I’m happy. It’s a lie.

I thought I just maybe I said that enough maybe I might become happy because I’ve been in denial. I’ve been in shock. I am traumatized, you know, fake it till you make it, but now I’m telling you the truth, okay, I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry. It’s insane. And I’m depressed. I cry every day and the reason I’m telling you this is because I don’t think how the state of California can have all this written in the court documents from the time I showed up and do absolutely nothing, just hire with my money, another person to keep, I keep my word. Ma’am, my dad and anyone involved in the conservatorship and my management who played two roles and punishing me when I said, ‘no.’

Ma’am, they should be in jail. Their cool tactics, working for Miley Cyrus as she smokes joints on stage at the VMAs, nothing has ever been done to this generation for doing wrong things, but my precious body has worked for my dad for the past fucking 13 years, trying to be so good and pretty. So perfect because he works me so hard when I do everything I’m told. And the state of California, my father, ignorant father to take his own daughter, who only has a role with me if I work with him, they get back the whole course and allow him to do that to me? That’s given these people I’ve worked for way too much control.They also threaten me instead if I don’t go, then I have to go to court, and it will be more embarrassing for me if the judge publicly makes scope at the evidence we pass. You have to go. I was advised for my image I need to go ahead and just go and get it over with. They said that to me I don’t, I don’t even drink alcohol. I should drink alcohol, considering what they put my heart through.

Also the Bridges facility they sent me to, none of the kids thought that I was doing this program for four months so the last two months I went to a Bridges facility, none of the kids there do the program. They never showed up for any of them. You didn’t have to do anything if you didn’t want to. How come they always made me go? How come I was always threatened by my dad and anybody that persisted, I don’t do this, what they tell me to, enslave me to do, they’re gonna punish me?The last time I spoke to you by just keeping the conservatorship going and also keeping my dad made me feel like I was dead, like I didn’t matter, like nothing had been done to me, like you thought I was lying or something. I’m telling you again because I’m not lying. I want to feel heard and I’m telling you this again so maybe you can understand the depth and the degree and the damage… I deserve changes going forward.I was told I have to sit down and be evaluated hold on it. Okay, I want to end on that…I’m sorry for my ignorance, but I honestly didn’t know that.

But honestly, I don’t think I owe anyone to be evaluated. I’ve done more than enough. I don’t feel like I should even be in a room with anyone to offend me by trying to question my capacity of intelligence, whether I need to be in this stupid conservatorship or not.I’ve done more than enough. I don’t owe these people, anything…It’s embarrassing and it’s demoralizing, what I’ve been through, and that’s the main reason. I’ve never said it openly. And mainly I didn’t want to say it openly because I honestly don’t think anyone would believe me. To be honest with you, the Paris Hilton story, on what they did at that school? I didn’t believe any of it. I’m sorry I’m an outsider and I’ll be honest, I didn’t believe it. And maybe I’m wrong, and that’s why I didn’t want to say in this, people would make fun of me or laugh at me and say she’s lying, she’s got everything, she’s Britney Spears.

I’m not lying. I just want my life back and it’s been 13 years and it’s enough.It’s been a long time since I’ve owned my money, and it’s my wish, my dream for all of this to end without being tested again. It makes no sense whatsoever for the state of California to sit back and literally watch me with their own two eyes make a living for so many people and take so many people — trucks and buses — on the road with me and be told I’m not good enough. But I’m great at what I do. And I do not need people to control what I do and it’s enough, it makes no sense at all.Going forward, I’m not willing to meet or see anyone. I’ve met with enough people against my will. I’m done. All I wanted…for this to end and for my boyfriend to drive me and share my story with a world, and what they did to me instead of it being a hush, hush secret to benefit all of them.I want to be able to be heard on what they did to me by making me keep it in for so long, it’s not good for my heart, as I’ve been so angry and I cry every day. It concerns me to be told, I’m exposed to people who did this to me, for my sanity, I need you Judge, to approve me to do an interview where I can be heard on what they did to me. And actually, I have right to use my voice and take after myself.

My attorney says I can’t. It’s not good. I can’t let the public know anything they did to me and by not doing a thing…It’s not okay. Actually I don’t want to interview. I’d much rather just have an open call for the (unintelligible) to hear, which I didn’t know today we’re doing because they do, instead of having an interview, honestly, I need that to get it off my heart the anger and all that, that It’s not fair.They’re telling me lies about me and talking about the situation and making you feel so stupid and I can’t say one thing. And my own people say I can’t fit in two years, I want to record a call to action, which I didn’t know that we were doing this. And to the public knows what they did to me.I know my lawyers, warned me to be very careful before I speak up. Because I’m being overworked in that facility, that rehab place, the rehab place will see me. He told me, I should keep it to myself. I was actually I had grown with a personal relationship with them. My lawyer, I’ve been talking to him like three times a week now we’ve kind of built a relationship, but I haven’t really had the opportunity by my own self to actually handpick my own lawyer by myself. And I would like to be able to do that.

I would like to also, the main reason was the conservatorship without having to be evaluated. I’ve done a lot of research and there’s a lot of judges who are in conservatorship for people without them having to be evaluated all the time. The only time they don’t is that the conservator’s family member says something’s wrong with in person and considered otherwise. And considering my family has adopted my conservatorship for 13 years, I won’t be surprised if one of them has something to say, go forward and say, ‘we don’t think this should be asked to help her.’ Especially if I get my fair serve and trying to get something like they did to me.Also I want to speak to you about at the moment my obligations, which I personally don’t think at the very moment I owe anybody anything. I have three meetings a week I have to attend no matter what. People I don’t know. I’m talking to you today because I feel like Jodi is starting to kind of take it too far with me. They have me going to therapy twice a week and a psychiatrist.

I shouldn’t be told I have to be available three times a week to meet people I don’t know. I’m talking to you today because I feel again that’s really my life. I shouldn’t be told I have to work every session with my doctor and then the therapy person was forced to do and legally my life, I shouldn’t be told I have to be available three times a week to people I don’t know. I’ve never in the past had to see a therapist more than once a week. It takes so much out of me to talk to this man I don’t know.Number one. I’m scared of people. I don’t trust people and the clever set up of being in Westlake, one of the most exposed places in Westlake, which today, yesterday paparazzi showed me coming out of the place, literally crying. It’s embarrassing and it’s demoralizing. I deserve privacy when I go. I deserve privacy when I go and have therapy, either at my home like I’ve done for eight years, they’ve always come to my home. Or with Dr. Benson, the guy, the man that died I went to a place, similar to what I went through in Westlake which was very exposed and really bad.Okay, so where was I? It’s it was identical to Dr. Benson, the one who died legally, yes 100% abused me, by the treatment he gave me. And to be totally honest with you..is identical to Dr. Benson who died. The one who illegally, yes 100% abused me by the treatment he gave me. And to be totally honest with you when he passed away I got on my knees and thanked God. In other words it was pushing it with me again, I have trapped phobias being in small rooms because the trauma lock me up for four months in that place, it’s not okay for them to send me to that small room like that.Twice a week with another new therapist, I pay that I never even approved. I don’t like it. I don’t want to do that. And I haven’t done it to deserve this treatment. It’s not okay to force me to do anything I don’t want to do. By law, and this whole team, honestly, I should be able to sue them for threatening me and saying, if I don’t go into these meetings twice a week, we can’t let you go to Maui on your vacation. You have to do what you’re told for this program and then you will be able to go.

And it was very, clever to send me to one of the most exposed places in Westlake and knowing I have the hot topic of the conservatorship that over five paparazzis are going to show up and get me crying coming out of that place. I want to make sure that they do this at my home so I would have privacy. I deserve privacy.The whole conservatorship from the beginning… Once you see someone, whoever it is in the conservatorship, making money, making them money, and myself money and working. That whole, that whole statement right there, the conservatorship should end. There should be… I shouldn’t be on a conservatorship. If I can work and provide money and work for myself. It makes no sense. The laws need to change. What state allows people to own another person’s money and accounts and threaten them saying ‘you can’t see your money unless you do what we want you to do’ and I’m paying them and I was since I was 17 years old.You have to understand how thin that is for me every morning to get up to know, I can’t go on somewhere unless I meet people I don’t know every week in office, identical to the one where the therapist was very abusive to me.

I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive. And they’ll say ‘Oh, conservatorship is here to help people.’ But then there’s 1000 conservatorships that are abusive as well.I don’t feel like I can live a full life I don’t owe them. I don’t owe them to go see a man I don’t know and share you my problems. I don’t even believe in therapy. I always think you take it to God. I want to end the conservatorship without being evaluated. In the meantime, I want this therapist once a week. He can either come to my home.. No I just want [him] to come to my home. I’m not willing to go to Westlake and be embarrassed by all these paparazzi, vicious, scummy paparazzi, laughing at my face and taking my pictures. They sent me out by sending them to the most exposed places to places, and I told them I didn’t want to go there because I knew, paparazzi would show up there.They only gave me two options for therapists and I’m not sure how you make the decisions, ma’am but this is the only chance for me to talk to you for a while.

I need your help, so if you can just kind of let me know where your head is, I don’t really honestly know what to say but my requests, are just to end the conservatorship without being evaluated.I want a petition basically to end the conservatorship but I want it to be a petition to end up I don’t want to be evaluated to be sat in a room with people for hours a day like they did me before, and they made it even worse for me after that happened so I just.. I’m honestly new at this, and I’m doing research on all these things I do know common sense and the method that things can end. For people that has ended without them being evaluated so I just want you to take that in consideration. I’ve also done research.I

t also took a year during Covid to get me any self care methods. During, Covid, she said there were no services available. She’s lying, ma’am. My mom went to the spa twice in Louisiana during Covid. For a year I didn’t have my nails done, no hairstyling and no massages, no acupuncture, nothing for a year. I saw the maids in my home each week with their nails done, a different each time.She made me feel like my dad does — very similar behavior and my dad’s — but just a different dynamic. The team wants me to work and stay home, instead of having longer vacations. There, they use, they are used to me sort of doing a weekly routine for them. And I’m over it. I don’t feel like I owe them anything at this point. They need to be reminded, they actually work for me.Also I’m supposed to be able to have a friend that I used to do AA meetings with, I did AA for two years to have like, you know, I did three meetings a week, you know, I met a bunch of women there and I’m not able to see my friends that live eight minutes away from me, which I find extremely strange. I feel like they’re making me feel like I live in a rehab program.

This is my home.I’d like for my boyfriend to be able to drive me in his car, and I want to meet with a therapist once a week, not twice a week, and I want him to come to my home, because I actually know I can take a little therapy (laughing). I think that’s…and I would like to progressively move forward and I want to have the real deal, I want to be able to get married and have a baby. I was told right now on the conservatorship. I’m not able to get married or have a baby I have a ID [IUD] inside of myself right now so I don’t get pregnant. I wanted to take the I[U]D out so I could start trying to have another baby. But this so-called team won’t let me go to the doctor to take it out because they don’t want me to have any children, any more children. Basically, this conservatorship is doing me way more harm than good.

I deserve to have a life. I’ve worked my whole life. I deserve to have a two to three year break and just you know, do what I want to do. But I do feel like, it’s a crutch here, and I feel open and I’m okay to talk to you here today about it but I wish I could stay with you on the phone forever because when I get off the phone, all of a sudden, I hear all these ‘no’s. No, no, no, and then all of a sudden, I feel ganged up on and I feel bullied, and I feel left out and alone and I’m tired of feeling alone. I deserve to have the same rights as anybody does by having a child, a family, any of those things, and more so.And that’s all I wanted to say to you and thank you so much for letting me speak to you today.

15 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz: Britney Spears’ Conservatorship

  1. I guess I’m on team Spears here. Even if 1/4 of what she says is true, it is pretty heartbreaking (a lot of this looks like it could be easily checked). At 39 years old, she should be able to have some control of her life. No one should be a performing monkey.

  2. I’m not sure I understand how they have managed to legally take her life and freedom away from her. Crazy people seem to be allowed to, in general, do whatever they please, including living under overpasses openly shooting heroin where I live. Britney Spears is rich and famous, so her parents are allowed to take over every aspect of her life, including forcing her to work jobs she doesn’t want to work? That doesn’t make any sense.

    It sounds like she is being terrorized with threats of having her children taken away and lawsuits if she doesn’t comply. Her parents agree she will do work, and then she is contractually bound to do it whether she wants to or not.

    Mental illness is a tough thing to deal with. It is hard to watch someone you love go off the deep end, and not be able to do anything about it. In that situation, there is a feeling of wanting to do something about it, to try and make people like they used to be. With lifelong illnesses like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, however, people are never going to go back to how they were before. Trying to force them to is like trying to reverse time. You just cannot accomplish it.

    I have strong distrust in the parents of most child stars to begin with. Anyone who would exploit a young child for money probably cannot be trusted to begin with. The parents always say “oh, we are just supporting their dreams!”, but 99 times out of 100 they are just after the money. Historically speaking, a large number of child stars get themselves emancipated from their parents because their parents are running through their money as fast as they make it. In that context, I’m not sure how it is sensible to give those types of parents conservatorship of the same individuals when they have mental issues as adults. Not all parents of child stars fit this pattern, of course, but enough to make me wonder if Britney Spears’ father is not simply exploiting her. Her testimony certainly makes it sound as though he is.

    In any case, all of this sounds awful, and someone should probably step in and help her at this point. She is an adult, mental illness should not strip her off her rights, and she should be allowed to live her life the way she wants to, make her own decisions, and deal with the consequences of her actions herself.

  3. If nothing else, conservatorships have no right to force her to work. They’ve threatened to sue her… but how can she be responsible for contracts she didn’t have the right to sign herself? There have to be limits on what her father can make her do, and it really sounds like he doesn’t recognize any.

    I don’t see how any rational person can believe she’s not in an abusive conservatorship.

    • This is where I come down as well… I have no idea whether or not Spears is mentally to handle her own affairs. Some of what she said is factually impossible (drawing 8 gallons of blood a week would be fatal partway through the first day), and I have no idea how much of the world she even understands. The courts have more experience and better information with which to deal with this than I do, but if the courts are going to be of the opinion that she is in fact not mentally fit to handle her affairs and she needs a conservator, I have no idea why the only person available is the father that Spears is saying abuses her. She’s been on record dozens of times saying she doesn’t want to tour… By what logic are these tours happening? She’s fought this intermittently since she came of age… How, after more than a decade of conservatorship, hasn’t James Spears been replaced with a court appointed conservator?

  4. This letter reminds me of the movie “I Care a Lot”. Interesting and depressing movie.

    I can understand her mental health getting her kids potentially placed in the care of another, but I don’t understand the concept of a conservatorship being placed on someone that is capable of appearing on television programs and do live performances. Seems like a raw deal for anyone.

    If she’s nuts enough to not be capable of caring for herself she should not be performing until her treatment shows that it has worked well enough for her to resume and then she should be able to make good or bad decisions as she sees fit.

    This just feels like a legalized slavery to me rather than a method to help someone get back on the right track.

  5. Spears needs a non familial guardian. The video which I assume had “daddy’s” blessing is downright creepy. It seems like it might be the recreation of an much older man’s fantasy in which a hot scantly clad flight attendant recruits him to the mile high club. I have serious reservations as to daddy’s fiduciary responsibilities as conservator.

    • I don’t have any reservations about his ability to discharge hid fiduciary obligations. If half of what she says is true, I figure he is stealing her blind, living off her talents and revenue.

      Her testimony/statement is also compelling in that the court is supposed to look out for her best interests. The court seems to have failed her miserably.

      jvb

  6. Two words: Judy Garland. Two other words: Shirley Temple.

    The poor lady is a mess. CM is right: non-familial guardian. Jesus, she needs a guardian ad litem. Let her go back home to Louisiana and heel herself. Why is she performing? How many millions of dollars is enough? But don’t abandon her, judge.

  7. So I perused the website of “Bridges,” the mental health clinic she appears to have been checked into for rehab. Her remarks about it are telling.

    Bridges looks exactly like just another one of many fraudulent but legal “luxury rehab” centers in Los Angeles. You might have seen TV commercials for one of them: the notorious “Passages Malibu.”

    Basically, these facilities barely pass the threshold of what can be legally considered rehab facilities. They make all sorts of claims, for example, using “scientifically advanced” or “holistic” treatment, and in the case of Passages, they claim to be better than 12-step programs. In reality, they don’t have anything any better than a 12-step program, and don’t do much of anything substantial. (At Passages, drug addicts were told to attend a free 12-step program offered at a nearby nonprofit if they wanted any actual accountability or counseling. There wasn’t anything better onsite.)

    What these establishments REALLY offer is the “luxury” aspect. If your probation officer, publicist, or a legal agreement requires you to attend rehab, these fake treatment centers allow you to fulfill that requirement without actually doing anything. In their advertising they play up the fact that you’ll be in a “private house” environment, or in a luxury oceanside resort. They telly you that your “treatment” will consist of drum circles, yoga, and “art therapy” (the website for Bridges promises all three.) They also are somehow able to claim that they get better results than legitimate programs, but with no actual evidence of this from any objective source.

    Basically, celebrities who need to show the world they “went to rehab” check into these resorts, lounge around for a few weeks, and then claim to have “completed rehab.” Addicts and others who receive government money for treatment are also often lured to these useless places for obvious reasons, only to be kicked to the curb when the money runs dry. Many of LA’s homeless people were put out on the streets from these “rehabs.”

    I have a suspicion that Britney’s handlers wanted her in a facility where she wouldn’t actually be evaluated or get the help she really needed. They just wanted to check the “rehab” box and keep her working. I could be wrong, but her description of Bridges- “no one had to do the program if they didn’t want to”- sounds about right.

  8. I found her statement to be rambling, disorganized, and often illucid. However, it’s honestly no worse than what I would expect from a significant fraction of the American public, who are out there freely running their own lives as I write, albeit with mixed results. At the very least, she needs a new conservator, and a serious audit of the her current conservator’s past performance.

  9. She appears to be what we might call “a mess”, but she’s also a nearly 40 yr old adult who seems to be a threat to no one but possibly herself, and that’s just speculation. She’s not an imbecile, & has plenty of assets, so shouldn’t be a burden on the state. It’s hard to imagine that she would be in this situation if she weren’t a cash cow for her various hangers-on.

  10. 1. Her statement to the court doesn’t bode well for her.

    2. We do not know how much of what she said is actually true, as in factual statements.

    3. Her disjointed statements makes her sound like she’s on drugs or has a mental disorder.

    4. She needs to be evaluated by a few professional psychiatrists that don’t know her and have never evaluated her before and have their professional opinions entered into the court record.

    If the statements are an accurate representation of how she communicates all the time, I wouldn’t let her babysit a pet rock, drive a car, have a check book or a credit card.

    If the statements are factually accurate, it’s likely that some of her civil rights may have been violated.

    As for the question “Is it ethical for Spears to be forced to continue under the control of her father?”; if the only thing I had was her statement I’d allow the conservatorship to continue but with restrictions. There should be a court ordered independent Guardian ad Litem (or the equivalent in her state) to protect her individual rights and her financial interests , she should be professionally evaluated by psychiatrists, and all of her claims should be thoroughly investigated. Once all that’s done the court will be able to make an informed decision.

    In a sense, I’d punt.

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