- #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.”
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.
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.”
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👆🏻👏🏻👆🏻👏🏻👆🏻. “If you can’t offer understanding or sympathy, offer your silence”- HALSEY. 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. I pray this doesn’t bring shame to anyone dealing with mental illness, you are not alone, and you are loved. Sending all my love and prayers to all of you♥️
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.”
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)
Joe Rogan Says Grimes Did Not Give Dave Chappelle COVID-19
- Comedian Dave Chappelle is under quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. He is asymptomatic and his remaining shows in Austin, Texas have been canceled.
- The news comes just days after Chappelle was photographed with Joe Rogan, Elon Musk, Grimes, and several others backstage at one of his Austin performances.
- “Because people are asking, I was not exposed to the person who had covid and I have tested negative every day this week,” Rogan wrote on Instagram Friday. “Also, the person that gave covid to Dave was NOT Elon’s partner @grimes.”
Chappelle Tests Positive
Comedian Dave Chappelle has tested positive for coronavirus and is currently under quarantine, according to one of his representatives.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, that rep also confirmed that he is currently asymptomatic and has canceled all of his remaining shows at Stubbs Waller Creek Amphitheater in Austin, Texas.
“Chappelle has safely conducted socially-distanced shows in Ohio since June 2020 and he moved those shows to Austin during the winter,” the statement read.
“Chappelle implemented COVID-19 protocols which included rapid testing for the audience and daily testing for himself and his team. His diligent testing enabled him to immediately respond by quarantining, thus mitigating the spread of the virus,” it continued.
Joe Rogan Speaks Out After He Was Photographed With Chappelle
Two of the remaining Austin shows were supposed to include fellow comedian Joe Rogan. Rogan took to Instagram Friday morning to announce that they will be rescheduled as soon as possible.
Still, many fans had questions about Rogan’s current state of health. The news of Chappelle’s positive test comes just days after he was photographed maskless with Rogan, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, musician Grimes, and several others backstage at one of his Austin performances.
Since Grimes, who is also in a relationship with Musk, recently had COVID, many were concerned that she may have exposed the group. Others wondered if Chappelle may have spread it.
Rogan eventually updates his Instagram caption to dismiss the ideas.
“Because people are asking, I was not exposed to the person who had covid and I have tested negative every day this week,” he wrote.“Also, the person that gave covid to Dave was NOT Elon’s partner @grimes.”
See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (CNN) (AP News)
Netflix Passes 200M Subscribers as Other Streamers Struggle With Retention
- In a letter to shareholders, Netflix said it has hit over 200 million subscribers following a successful year of growth.
- The pandemic gave Netflix a significant subscriber boost in March and April. The company continued to perform well even in its final quarter, gaining 8.5 million subscribers when it was only projected to add 6 million.
- The data also highlights how relatively unaffected Netflix has been by new streaming services entering the market. While companies like Disney+, HBO Max, and Peacock continue to grow, they also struggle to retain the subscribers that sign up.
Netflix Passes 200 Million Subscribers
Netflix has topped 200 million subscribers following a year of strong growth in 2020.
In its Tuesday letter to shareholders, Netflix announced that it added 8.5 million subscribers in its fourth quarter. This exceeds projections, which estimated the streaming giant would only add around 6 million. In total, Netflix gained 37 million new memberships throughout 2020, bringing the company to 203.6 million subscribers.
Pandemic lockdowns gave Netflix a substantial boost in March in April. In the company’s first two quarters, it added a combined 25.7 million subscribers. According to data from the letter, Netflix had added over 10 million more subscribers by May of 2020 than it had by May of 2019.
When it comes to the success of their fourth quarter, Netflix pointed to shows like “Bridgerton” and “The Crown.” The fourth season of “The Crown” hit the platform in November, prompting many to return to older seasons of the show. Netflix claims the series has been viewed by 100 million households since it first aired in 2016.
Success Amid Growth of Competition
The year 2020 could have been a difficult one for Netflix as new streaming services entered the market. Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, Peacock and more have all made waves with their original programming or by taking some of their brand’s content from Netflix to host on their own site. User-based content on YouTube and TikTok also became increasingly popular throughout the pandemic, further posing as a threat to Netflix.
Still, it reached a massive milestone.
“Our strategy is simple: if we can continue to improve Netflix every day to better delight our members, we can be their first choice for streaming entertainment,” Netflix said in the letter. “This past year is a testament to this approach.”
Netflix potentially sees Disney+ as the biggest competitor among new platforms. In its letter, the company noted that the streamer added 87 million subscribers in its first year. In a Q&A, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings seemed enthusiastic about this competition.
“It’s super impressive what Disney’s done,” he said. “It’s going to be great for the world that Disney and Netflix are competing show-by-show, movie-by-movie. We’re very fired up about catching them in family animation, maybe eventually passing them, we’ll see. It’s a long way to go just to catch them, and maintaining our lead in general entertainment that’s so stimulating like ‘Bridgerton,’ which I don’t think you’re going to see on Disney anytime soon.”
Streamers Struggle with Retaining Subscribers
Even as new streamers have had impressive years, there is one hurdle that many are still struggling to jump over: retaining the subscribers who sign up. The Los Angeles Times named Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, and Apple TV+ in particular, writing that people create accounts with these services, watch the TV shows or movies they are interested in, and cancel once they are done.
An October survey from Deloitte said that 46% of respondents canceled at least one streaming service in the last 6 months, which is up 20% from January of last year. Most who had canceled said they did so because they had finished watching whatever programming it was that brought them to that service.
Places like Disney+ and HBO Max are really vulnerable to this because they have banked on drawing people in with exclusive marquis titles like “Hamilton” or “Wonder Woman 1984.” However, since they are newer, they are still building their original programming catalog, meaning that people can quickly burn through highlight titles.
See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (Wall Street Journal) (The Hollywood Reporter)
Paramount+ To Launch March 4
- ViacomCBS is launching Paramount+ in the United States and Latin America on March 4 before rolling out to other markets internationally later this year.
- The streaming service will be a relaunch and expansion of CBS All Access. It will include content from Nickelodeon, MTV, and more on top of the CBS-focused selection.
Paramount+ Gets Launch Date
ViacomCBS will be launching its streaming service Paramount+ in the U.S. and Latin America on March 4 before rolling out in more countries throughout the year.
It will be an expansion and rebrand of CBS All Access, the service the company currently offers that is used by nearly 8 million subscribers. Paramount+ will go beyond the CBS-centric content promoted there, including works from brands like Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Comedy Central, and the Smithsonian Channel.
More details about their streaming strategy will be released during an investor event on February 24. Right now, ViacomCBS is boasting that the service will have over 30,000 episodes and movies in their catalog, which will also include live sports and breaking news.
“The Paramount brand is known and loved all around the world, and is synonymous with great entertainment. It’s always brought people together, which makes it a perfect fit for a streaming service that’s uniquely positioned to do the same,” Josh Line the chief brand officer of ViacomCBS said during a brand announcement in September. “The Paramount+ streaming service will elevate ViacomCBS’ iconic family of brands.”
State of the Streaming Wars
Paramount+ has already announced a slew of original projects including a revival of “iCarly” and a series about the making of “The Godfather” titled “The Offer.”
The service is entering an already crowded battlefield as the streaming wars wages on. It will have plenty of uphill battles to fight since brand recognition for Paramount is not nearly as strong as it is for studios like Disney or NBCUniversal. It will also have to compete with Netflix, which leads the pack in subscribers and unveils new content regularly; HBO Max, which will be home to Warner Media’s new theatrical releases; and Hulu, which hosts original content as well as shows currently airing on cable and network television.
ViacomCBS has not released information on pricing, but that will likely come during or before the February investor event.