MAP's Alison Hirschel: Britney Spears' conservatorship conspiracy theories shine a light on a complicated system (

Saturday, May 18, 2019

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Britney Spears appeared in a California court on May 10 for the latest round of legal battles tied to her 11-year-long conservatorship. While the court reportedly ordered a capacity evaluation and some fans mounted a “Free Britney” campaign, Spears’ father and conservator remained in control of her assets and the most basic decisions in her life. Conspiracy theories have swirled around the 37-year-old singer, with some fans even alleging she is being held against her will. The controversy is unlikely to die down anytime soon, especially given the most recent reports that Spears is mentally and physically unable to return to her lucrative Las Vegas residency.

Spears is hardly typical of people courts declare incapacitated, but she is one between one and three million Americans with court-ordered guardians or conservators. For some, guardianship can be life-saving. But for others, trapped in court-ordered protective arrangements they don’t need or at the mercy of guardians or conservators who neglect or abuse them, it can be bewildering and devastating. And most people don’t have a devoted fan base scrutinizing every decision - and more than ready to cry foul if they perceive injustice... — Alison Hirschel,