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Jamie Lynn Spears Defends Britney, Refuses to Speak About Her Sister’s Mental Health as #FreeBritney Movement Recirculates

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  • #FreeBritney is popping up on social media again as fans rally behind Britney Spears ahead of a hearing reportedly set for Wednesday over the future of her conservatorship. 
  • The singer has been under a conservatorship for 12 years, which gave her father and an attorney control over her finances, health, and essentially her daily life.
  • After both stepped down last year, her care manager Jodi Montgomery temporarily took over, with the conservatorship set to end on August 22. 
  • In recent weeks, fans have been sharing a petition asking for Congress to intervene and release her from the conservatorship. 
  • Others have turned to her younger sister Jamie Lynn for answers, but she said she has no right to speak about Britney’s mental health and will not speak out just to clarify things to the public “when the person it pertains to does not want that to happen.”

Britney’s Conservatorship

The #FreeBritney movement is popping up all over social media again as fans rally behind singer Britney Spears ahead of her conservatorship hearing reportedly set for Wednesday.

If you haven’t been keeping up with Britney over the last several years, you might not know that she actually has very little control of her own life. In fact, that’s been the case for about 12 years because she was placed under a conservatorship in 2008 after she was put on an involuntary psychiatric hold.

Conservatorships are court-orders and are mainly used when someone is in a coma, suffering from dementia, or has another serious illness that makes them incapable of making judgments. At the time, a court placed her under the conservatorship of her dad Jamie and an attorney named Andrew Wallet. This meant they had control over her estate and needed to sign off on every decision in her life, from business to health, finances, and even marriage.

But it’s not just big decisions. This conservatorship impacts her daily routine. A 2016 New York Times article reported, “Her most mundane purchases, from a drink at Starbucks to a song on iTunes, are tracked in court documents as part of the plan to safeguard the great fortune she has earned but does not ultimately control.

Fans have taken a huge issue with this because they think it gives her father and Wallet too much control over her life and the ability to abuse her finances  Some think she’s mentally fit enough to be in control herself, others think she isn’t getting the right care she needs and is being exploited. 

In general, thoughts on this situation vary, but most want to see her released from conservatorship. Still, there’s not a lot we know about the inner workings of her situation or her health, and she has continued to live this way for years. 

#FreeBritney Movement 

Flash forward to 2019, when the #FreeBritney movement really took off online. In January of that year, fans were surprised when Britney canceled her second Vegas residency, saying she needed to spend time with her father and help him recover from surgery. 

Fans were suspicious, especially after she pretty much went off the grid. There were no public sightings of her and she stopped posting on Instagram. 

Then in March of that year, Wallet resigned as a co-conservator, handing sole control off to her father, which concerned people. In early April, reports said Britney had checked into a mental health facility. A few days later, she posted a quote to Instagram and captioned it, “We all need to take time for a little ‘me time.’ :)”

Fans thought it didn’t match her typical posting style and began speculating that something wasn’t right. Later that month, the podcast Britney’s Gram said it received a voicemail from a paralegal source that claimed it worked for an attorney on Britney’s case. That source claimed Britney was placed in a facility against her will by Jamie. They claimed that during her Vegas residency rehearsals, he learned she was refusing to take her medications and told her she could either take them, meet with a doctor for a new type of medication, or cancel the Vegas shows. When she refused the first two options, he allegedly chose the latter and blamed it on his health. 

However, around the same time, the Blast cited a source that said the singer “would be dead” if she had not checked in. Still, the movement picked up steam at this point, with fans even holding a protest outside West Hollywood City Hall in April. 

All the concerns prompted Britney to make a post telling fans she was doing well and would return soon. That really didn’t convince people though because many assume her social media is monitored. 

Eventually, she did finish treatment and return to her regular type of Instagram content. Ever since, people have been trying to look for clues in her posts or secret signals that show she’s in distress. However, that seems to have also sparked both concerns based in reality as well as a bunch of wild conspiracy theories.

Then in September, Jamie filed a request to temporarily relieve himself of the role for “personal health reasons.” At this point, Britney’s care manager Jodi Montgomery took over, and because of the coronavirus pandemic, that temporary conservatorship was extended in April of this year until August 22.

What’s Happening Now and Jamie Lynn’s Response

All of that brings us to the most recent resurgence of the #FreeBritney movement. In recent weeks, fans have pushed around a petition asking Congress to intervene on her half, which already has well over 100,000 signatures. According to reports, Britney is has a court hearing Wednesday where many hope her conservatorship will be ended. That’s why you’re seeing the hashtag all over the internet.

Aside from that, there’s not a lot we know right now and we’ll have to wait and see what comes next. However, during this latest wave of concern, many have turned to Britney’s younger sister Jamie Lynn for answers.

Earlier this week, Jamie Lynn reshared tweets from celebrities discussing mental illness and condemning those joking about it, including one from Hasley. Those tweets were presumably in relation to jokes and discussions about Kanye West’s recent behavior. 

In the caption, Jamie Lynn wrote, “If you deal with mental illness or care for someone dealing with mental illness, then you know how important it is to respect the situation with privacy for the person, and the family trying to protect their loved ones, no matter how it may appear to the public, and as the public we must learn to do the same.”

However, one user commented back, “How about your sisters OBVIOUS mental illness? Why don’t you speak on that?” To that, she responded, “You have no right to assume anything about my sister, and I have NO right to speak about HER health and personal matters. She is a strong, badass, unstoppable woman, and that’s the only thing that is OBVIOUS.”

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According to People magazine, another follower demanded that Jamie Lynn and her family “clarify all these assumptions.” In response, she allegedly said, “I would never speak out just to clarify things to the public, when the person it pertains to does not want that to happen.”

“I’d rather take all the hate, then speak about someone elses personal matter, that they want to keep private.”

So with that, many are reminding each other online to have some compassion when sharing concerns for Britney.

See what others are saying: (Cosmopolitan) (Fox News) (EOnline)

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N.Y. State Senate Passes Bill Championed by Jay-Z That Would Restrict Use of Rap Lyrics in Court

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A companion bill currently sits in the state’s assembly.


“Rap Music on Trial” Passes Senate

The New York State Senate passed legislation on Tuesday that would curb prosecutors’ ability to cite rap lyrics and other creative works as evidence in legal battles.

Dubbed “Rap Music on Trial,” the bill aims to “enhance the free speech protections of New Yorkers by banning the use of art created by a defendant as evidence against them in a courtroom,” according to a statement from State Sens. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and Jamaal Bailey (D-Queens).

“The legislation will protect all artists and content creators, including rappers from having their lyrics wielded against them by prosecutors,” the statement continued. 

Right now, all forms of creative expression, including rap lyrics, can be used as evidence in criminal cases. Rap lyrics, however, are more likely to be weaponized against those who wrote them in trial, experts say. 

The use of rap and hip-hop lyrics in particular is emblematic of the systemic racism that permeates our criminal justice system,” Bailey said in a statement. 

Hoylman agrees that there is a double standard.

“Nobody thinks Johnny Cash shot a man in Reno just to watch him die, or that David Byrne is a psycho killer, but routinely rappers have their lyrics used against them in criminal trials,” he tweeted. 

The bill would not fully ban the use of rap lyrics in court. If made into law, prosecutors would need “clear and convincing proof that there is a literal, factual nexus between creative expression and the facts of the case” in order to use these works as evidence.

Major artists including Jay-Z, Meek Mill, Kelly Rowland, and Robin Thicke previously signed a letter in support of the legislation.

A companion bill currently sits in the New York State Assembly. 

Rap Lyrics in Court

The use of rap lyrics against their artists is not an uncommon tactic. Earlier this month, an indictment charging Young Thug, Gunna, and two dozen others over alleged gang activity and conspiracy to violate racketeering laws used lyrics of the aforementioned artists. 

While the case is in Atlanta and would not be impacted by the New York bill, the use of their lyrics has stirred controversy. In a motion requesting that Gunna be released from jail, his lawyers argued that it was unfair to cite these works.

“It is intensely problematic that the State relies on song lyrics as part of its allegations,” his lawyers said in court documents. “These lyrics are an artist’s creative expression and not a literal recounting of facts and circumstances. Under the State’s theory, any artist with a song referencing violence could find herself the victim of a RICO indictment.”

​​Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis defended the indictment’s use of the lyrics and argued it did not violate the artist’s free speech. 

In the letter signed by numerous recording artists, the authors said this kind of tactic “effectively denies rap music the status of art and, in the process, gives prosecutors a dangerous advantage in the courtroom.”

“Rather than acknowledge rap music as a form of artistic expression, police and prosecutors argue that the lyrics should be interpreted literally — in the words of one prosecutor, as ‘autobiographical journals’ — even though the genre is rooted in a long tradition of storytelling that privileges figurative language, is steeped in hyperbole, and employs all of the same poetic devices we find in more traditional works of poetry,” the letter, which was written by Jay-Z’s lawyer Alex Spiro and University of Richmond Professor Erik Nielson, said.  

See what others are saying: (Billboard) (Pitchfork) (Complex)

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YouTube Touts MrBeast and Mainstream Appeal in First Upfront Presentation

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According to Nielson, over 230 million people in the United States used the video service in just one month. 


YouTube Presents at Upfronts

During its first Upfront presentation on Tuesday, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said the company said it was joining staple broadcast and entertainment companies “because YouTube is the mainstream.”

“Viewers have more choices than ever about what to watch or where to watch it,” Wojcicki said while speaking at the Imperial Theatre in New York City. “And they continue to use YouTube.”

The company had previously done its Brandcast presentation at the NewFronts. This was the first time its pitch came alongside television competitors during the busy Upfronts season.

Many of YouTube’s primary talking points were highlighted in a company blog post. In its address, it marketed itself not just as the future of media consumption, but as the modern-day leader, too. 

It said that over 135 million people watched YouTube on Connected TVs, representing every age demographic from toddlers to viewers 55-years-old and up. It also cited Nielson data that said YouTube has over 50% of ad-supported streaming watch time on TV screens. 

Nielsen also found that YouTube reached over 230 million people in the United States in just one month. 

YouTube Offers Up Its Talent

MrBeast, one of YouTube’s top creators, attended the presentation. The company boasted that if MrBeast were his own streaming service, he would “would have more subscribers than the next three most popular ad-supported streaming services.” In other words, with 95 million YouTube subscribers, MrBeast is ahead of HBO and HBO Max’s 77 million, Paramount’s 33 million, and Hulu’s 54 million in the United States. 

Or course, subscribing to a YouTube channel is very different from subscribing to a streaming service, as YouTube subscriptions come at no cost. Viewers can subscribe to as many or as few creators as they please for free, while each streaming service has a monthly or annual fee to gain access to its content. 

YouTube didn’t only show off its homegrown talent. Popstar Lizzo also took the stage to sing her praises of the company, along with a few of her biggest hits. 

But the company’s most important appeals came from the strengths it offered to advertisers. It claimed that 2020 Nielson analysis showed that YouTube on average had a 1.2 times greater return on investment than television.

It also announced a frequency optimization tool for advertisers that would allow companies to control how many times viewers see their spots in one week. In its blog post, YouTube said this allows for “more efficient” spending and “a better experience for viewers.”
It touted this optimization as “a solution only YouTube can provide.”

See what others are saying: (Deadline) (TubeFilter) (Variety)

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“Saturday Night Live” Faces Backlash for Sketch Mocking the Johnny Depp Amber Heard Trial

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Many fear that jokes about the case could hurt the everyday domestic abuse survivors that see them.


SNL Mocks Trial

After “Saturday Night Light” parodied the ongoing defamation trial between actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in its cold open this weekend, many are criticizing the show — and media at large — for making a mockery of the case. 

Ever since the trial began in April, there has been an onslaught of TikToks, tweets, videos, and other posts turning the happenings in the courtroom into clickbait content. Most of the posts use Heard as a punchline as the #JusticeForJohnnyDepp narrative prevails online. 

Depp sued Heard for $50 million over a 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post titled “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.” While she never mentioned Depp by name, many believed the piece referred to previous abuse allegations she had made about him. Depp, however, alleges that Heard was actually the abuser and concocted the claims to ruin his career. She countersued for $100 million. 

In its most recent episode, “Saturday Night Live” aired a sketch starring Kyle Mooney as Depp, Cecily Strong as the judge, and Aidy Bryant and Heidi Gardner as lawyers in the case. The sketch took place in the courtroom as the involved parties discussed allegations that Heard defecated in her and Depp’s bed. They then watched “video evidence” of house staffers, played by Kenan Thompson, Ego Nwodim, Melissa Villaseñor, and Chris Redd, finding the fecal matter. 

At various points, Strong’s judge said they should continue watching the video “because it’s funny” and she and Mooney’s Depp both said they find the trial “amusing.”

“This trial is for fun,” the judge proclaimed at one point.

Many online did not see the humor in SNL’s parody, arguing that a case involving domestic abuse accusations should not be a punchline. Some said the sketch was “disgusting and desperate.”

“Domestic violence is not a joke. Rape is not a joke,” writer Ella Dawson tweeted. “Abusers using the legal system to continue to terrorize their victims is not a joke. Abusers using accusations of defamation to silence their victims is not a joke.” 

“In twenty years people are going to look back at this trial and all of the media coverage and be disgusted,” Dawson continued. 

You’re free to have absolutely no opinion on the Depp/Heard trial, but thinking it’s ‘for fun’ is for someone with a diseased heart and brain,” Meredith Haggerty, the senior culture editor at Vox, wrote.

Many felt that regardless of how someone feels or who they support in this case, those making fun of Heard are “making a joke of victims everywhere.”

Criticism of Media’s Trial Coverage

Others argued this sketch was part of an overall disturbing trend in the media’s coverage of this case where serious allegations were being played up for laughs. 

The hashtag #JusticeForJohnnyDepp has trended on Twitter several times throughout the trial as fans defend the actor. Many also use it to mock Heard, share clips of her crying, and in some cases, spread misinformation about her courtroom claims. The tag is also popular on TikTok, where it has been viewed over 11 billion times as of Monday morning. 

Many of the videos involve jokes about the case, memes, fan cams, and other content meant to belittle Heard. On TikTok, the tag #AmberTurd has raked in over 1.6 billion views. Some videos involve animated renderings of courtroom videos meant to make Heard look careless or dumb. Others use audio of Heard alleging that Depp hit her along with silly imagery to make those claims look like a farce. Many involve people making fun of the way Heard has cried on the stand.

Experts have told numerous media outlets that by ridiculing Heard, Depp’s supporters are potentially harming abuse victims that may come across these posts. 

“I can’t imagine what this might be doing to someone who may eventually want to seek safety and support,” Ruth M. Glenn, the chief executive officer of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, told NBC News. “Whether it’s Amber Heard or Johnny Depp, how dare us make fun and make light of someone who is sharing something very personal — no matter how we feel about that person.”

The trial is being broadcast live so interested parties can watch it unfold in real-time. The viral clips have allowed the case to become a massive entertainment spectacle.

Public discourse of the trial has sorted people into either “Team Depp” or “Team Heard,” and just a quick glance online will show that Depp has so far won a good portion of public favor. Still, no matter how one views the trial, many think jokes at the expense of Heard’s claims are a bridge too far.

“In the commentary, it’s almost as if people are forgetting that this is real life, that this is not a show that we’re all watching,” Laura Palumbo, communications director at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, told USA Today. “Many victims of domestic violence and sexual assault will go into a courtroom at some point and have an experience that is largely outside of their control, in a setting like this.”

“There’s such a strong desire in the public discourse for [Heard] to be the villain, for her to be the example of the fact that there are victims who have ulterior motives, that there are victims who are not telling the full truth,” Palumbo continued. “It doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of folks thinking critically or wanting to understand the nuances of abuse or of unhealthy relationships.”

See what others are saying: (NBC News) (USA Today) (Rolling Stone)

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