The ongoing brouhaha surrounding Britney Spears’s conservatorship has stirred up some truly weird stuff recently, especially within the past year. Just a couple of months ago, the pop star’s current manager was implying that she was potentially too shaken and mentally unwell to ever perform again. Encouraged by a couple of high-profile cultural commentators, fans of the “Toxic” singer have also recently been emboldened to promote a Free Britney campaign which aims to release Spears from her conservatorship, which has been in place since 2008. Now, as of this week, Spears has been granted a permanent restraining order against her former manager, Sam Lutfi, partially on the basis that Lutfi has been trying to incite criticism of the conservatorship.
In court on Thursday, Britney’s father James Spears testified that Lutfi was a “predator” whose motivations in prolifically promoting the Free Britney campaign via his Twitter feed were not to be trusted. “I worried that he was trying to take down the conservatorship,” Spears said, according to Billboard. “I was very angry. I was worried that we were right back in 2008.”
This relentless back-and-forth between Lutfi and Britney’s father, who, according to the conditions of the conservatorship has the final say on essentially all of Britney’s personal and financial decisions, has only gotten more and more confusing as it’s escalated. This is largely because it’s so difficult to see clearly where Spears herself stands in all of this. She’s made few public comments on how she feels about the fact that her father and lawyer essentially monitor her every waking moment, but neither has she recently elucidated her perspective on Lutfi.
Instead, the public is forced to attempt to decode the relentlessly sunny pictures and videos Spears posts on Instagram. It’s impossible to make judgements about the state of someone’s mental health from what they share on social media, but there’s an uncanny incongruence to the intense legal proceedings and Britney’s chipper home tours all the same. “Guys, OK, I just got home, guess what the housekeepers just did to my closet?” she asks in her latest post, while showing off her newly sorted garments. “All whites. Color organization. All bright, all flowers.”