The battle for Britney Spears suddenly shifted to Capitol Hill this week with a letter signed by two Republican lawmakers urging the powerful House Judiciary Committee to convene a hearing “to review and examine the plight of Americans trapped unjustly in conservatorships.”
Submitted by controversial conservative representatives Matt Gaetz of Florida and Jim Jordan of Ohio, the letter referenced the world’s most famous conservatee, stating: “If the conservatorship process can rip the agency from a woman who was in the prime of her life and one of the most powerful pop stars in the world, imagine what it can do to people who are less powerful and have less of a voice.”
While many Britney stans eagerly tweeted the news, others did so “holding my nose,” as one prominent #FreeBritney supporter put it. Wary that the two Republicans may be hitching themselves to the #FreeBritney bandwagon for less than sincere reasons, some point to the fact that Jordan, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, has positioned himself as an opponent of gay rights, gay marriage in particular—an unpopular stance for Britney’s many LGBTQ followers.
Gaetz, one of former president Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters and a lawyer who practiced for a dozen years before running for office, has no previous record of questioning legal guardianships. In a Vanity Fair interview, Gaetz declared himself a Spears fan since hearing “…Baby One More Time” as a teenager.
A Judiciary Committee spokesperson confirmed receiving the letter, and issued a statement enumerating other important issues with which it’s been preoccupied, from gun violence to “Congress’s ability to uphold standards of Member conduct,” basically shrugging off Gaetz and Jordan, but saying it “will work to advance critical legislation to protect and strengthen civil rights and civil liberties for all Americans.”
But the congressmen’s assertion that Britney was being held against her will by her conservators, including her father, Jamie Spears, drew an angry response from her dad’s lawyer, Vivian L. Thoreen, who told People: “Any time Britney wants to end her conservatorship, she can ask her lawyer to file a petition to terminate it; she has always had this right but in 13 years has never exercised it.”
Britney’s court-appoint lawyer, Samuel Ingham III, did not respond to a request for comment. But sources say that regardless of politics, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat from New York, will soon be the recipient of a letter signed by a number of civil rights groups calling for a congressional hearing on conservatorships and guardianships, especially as they impact people with disabilities, effectively backing the GOPers who are now #FreeBritney’s oddest bedfellows.