A new wrinkle in the long-running #FreeBritney controversy/conversation tonight, as probate Judge Brenda Penny has overruled Jamie Spears’ legal efforts to regain his status as the sole conservator of his daughter Britney’s estate, a role he’s held intermittently since Spears’ conservatorship began back in 2008. Instead, Judge Penny—who, and this is apropos of nothing besides being weird enough to note in passing, is apparently the mother of Insecure showrunner Prentice Penny—has ruled that Bessemer Trust, which was named as a co-conservator with Jamie Spears back in November of last year, would maintain that role, blocking Spears’ efforts to take back full control of his daughter’s massive and lucrative media empire.
In addressing the court re: this decision, Spears’ attorney, Samuel Ingham—per Variety—made it clear that, while his client’s ideal scenario would be for her father to be removed from the conservatorship entirely, the decision to force the elder Spears to work with the third-party trust organization to invest and manage his daughter’s money was seen as a step in the right direction. “It’s no secret that my client does not want her father as co-conservator, but we recognize that removal is a separate issue,” Ingham said.
All of this comes, of course, in the immediate wake of Hulu’s new documentary Framing Britney Spears, which examines the artist’s relationship with the media in general, and the circumstances of her conservatorship—which strips her of control over many of the circumstances of her daily life, as well as a career and fortune that’ve only grown over a past decade that’s seen her chart some of her most consistently high-performing albums—in specific. The documentary has been a rallying point for the fan-driven #FreeBritney movement, while also sparking a wider conversation about her treatment by talk show hosts, cultural pundits, and her own family throughout her rise to, and maintenance of, her position as one of the foremost musical superstars of the 21st century.