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#FreeBritney: Lawmakers request House Judiciary hearing on conservatorship, Britney Spears

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On Monday, Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) requesting that the committee hold a hearing on court-ordered conservatorships, specifically mentioning the ongoing controversy surrounding pop star Britney Spears’s father holding conservatorship over her.

In the letter, GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz (Fla.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio), explaining the Spears situation, stated their concerns regarding “constitutional freedoms” in the case.

“The ACLU is concerned that individuals are being ‘stripped of virtually all of their civil rights through guardianships and conservatorships’ and has called for the exploration of reforms to ensure that unnecessary conservatorships can be terminated so these individuals may ‘direct their own lives,'” the letter began. “The most striking example is perhaps the case of multi-platinum performing artist Britney Spears.”

“Since 2008, Ms. Spears has been under a court-ordered conservatorship,” the letter added. “The facts and circumstances giving rise to this arrangement remain in dispute but involve questionable motives and legal tactics by her father and now-conservator, Jamie Spears.”

“In court appearances in August and November of 2020, Ms. Spears’ attorney represented to the court that that Ms. Spears ‘strongly opposed’ having her father as a conservator, that she was afraid of her father, and that she would not again perform publicly so long as this arrangement persisted,” the letter continued. “Despite these pleas, Mr. Spears remains a conservator of her estate. Despite Mr. Spears’s claiming to want nothing more than to see Ms. Spears ‘not need a conservatorship,’ his attorney admitted in a recent documentary, ‘Of the cases I’ve been involved in, I have not seen a conservatee who has successfully terminated a conservatorship.'”

“Given the constitutional freedoms at stake and opaqueness of these arrangements,” the letter concluded, “it is incumbent upon our Committee to convene a hearing to examine whether Americans are trapped unjustly in conservatorships.”

Over the past couple of years, many fans of the world-famous pop star have been speculating that Spears was essentially being held captive by her father and that she needed to be rescued, with many of her fans calling for her emancipation have been using #FreeBritney hashtag.

However, the #FreeBritney movement picked up a ton of momentum last month, when The New York Times released a documentary on Netflix titled “The Framing of Britney Spears”, which the letter to Nadler referenced, that chronicled Spears’s successes and struggles and set the internet aflame.

The documentary prompted celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Bette Midler to call for Spears’s emancipation. Justin Timberlake, Spears’s former boyfriend, also put out an apology for allowing the media to engage in misogyny against her after their tumultuous breakup two decades ago.

Subsequently on February 11, one week after the documentary’s release, the Los Angeles Superior Court placed the financial company Bessemer Trust in an equal partnership with Spears’s father, as the pop star had requested.

For a more detailed explanation and breakdown of the #FreeBritney situation, read Vox’s explainer piece here.

Gaetz retweeted the letter Tuesday afternoon, saying, “Congress can #FreeBritney and @RepJerryNadler has the power to convene a needed hearing on conservatorship due process.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Boston Celtics Player Legally Changing Name to ‘Enes Kanter Freedom’ to Celebrate U.S. Citizenship

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Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter is celebrating becoming a U.S. citizen in an incredible way. The 29-year-old athlete from Turkey is having his citizenship oath ceremony Monday, and will legally change his name to Enes Kanter Freedom.

Kanter is an outspoken human rights advocate who had his Turkish passport revoked in 2017 after he criticized Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mediaite reports “he has also criticized NBA stars Michael Jordan and LeBron James for not doing enough to help the Black community and not speaking out against exploitative labor practices in China respectively.”

Celtics head coach Ime Udoka told the Boston Globe the team is “all for” the player’s name change. Kanter’s manager says the player will complete his legal name change to have Kanter become his middle name and Freedom be his new last name at Monday’s ceremony.

“We congratulated him as a group for getting his American citizenship last week,” Udoka said. “That’s who Enes is, we’re proud of him. Enes is who he is. He’s passionate about his stances and the name change; you look at [Ron] Artest [who changed his name to Metta Sandiford-Artest in the middle of the COVID-19 outbreak] and guys that have done it in the past. It’s something he wants to express and we’re all for it.”

Kanter has already changed his official Twitter account to Enes Kanter FREEDOM with his new last name in all caps. Freedom made waves when he tweeted the following on November 18: Money over Morals for the ‘King’. Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice. They really do ‘shut up & dribble’ when Big Boss [inserted Chinese flag] says so. Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research?”

The tweet included photos of basketball shoes he wore painted with human rights depictions and phrases such as “hey still researching and getting educated?” as well as “I am informed and educated on the situation.”

The statement is with regard to his criticism of LeBron James’ partnership with Nike. “Nike remains one of the NBA’s biggest sponsors as both organizations feed off their partnerships with China” reports Mediaite. Kanter Freedom also made an offer to take Michael Jordan and Nike co-founder Phil Knight to China in order for the men to “visit these slave labor camps and you can see it with your own eyes.”

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