Despite being a massive Britney Spears fan, Kevin Wu says he can’t in good conscience visit the Zone, the pop-up experience dedicated to the superstar coming to L.A. in January 2020.
Wu, a member of the #FreeBritney movement, says while he would like to attend the ten-room exhibit, he believes it’s a way for Spears’s team to make money off her name without having to make her work.
“Feelings are mixed about it,” Wu says. “I think the pop-up looks amazing. As a die-hard Britney fan, it looks like something I definitely want to witness and they’re selling merch that a lot of us are very excited about, so I know that the protesters are not all on the same page about this.”
Spears is in the middle of court hearings regarding the 11-year conservatorship she became subject to back in 2008. While conservatorships are usually reserved for elderly people who can no longer make decisions for themselves, a judge mandated that Spears’s father, Jamie, oversee Spears’s finances following her two hospitalizations under psychiatric hold and multiple trips to rehab.
Some fans also believe the timing of the new pop-up is suspicious, considering Spears’s next conservatorship-related court date is also in January. “If it is opening on the same day, then that is a very curious coincidence,” Wu says. “I think it’s very curious and I think this does deflect attention from the #FreeBritney movement.”
This wouldn’t be the first time Spears’s fans believed the pop star’s team was trying to throw them off the scent of something fishy. Back in April, paparazzi photos were released of Spears exiting a hotel. The photos raised some eyebrows.
“There’s a number of things that are sort of questionable about that,” Tess Barker, co-host of the podcast Britney’s Gram, told us at the time. “Britney never goes in and out of a hotel from the front entrance. A lot of celebrities don’t do that. I think it’s bizarre that there was only one photographer there. And the agency that circulated the photos sent out a very bizarre release with it to all the outlets, describing her in the photos as relaxed and happy, which I think is really quite disparate from the read that a lot of people get from her in those photos.”
Members of the #FreeBritney movement have been vocal about the pop-up on Twitter. One fan wrote, “We are not going to the Zone and THATS THAT #FreeBritney.” Others question the timing, like Wu.
The Zone did not respond to a request for comment.
— Bruno #FREEBRITNEY (@brunolovesbrit) October 31, 2019
Wu says if the conservatorship ends, he and other fans will be more confident that the decisions Spears makes are her own.
“We want her to live her best life,” Wu says. “Some people think that she wants to retire. If she wants to retire, then we are all for it. I personally don’t think that. I think she enjoys recording music and touring but on her own terms, so I would love to see new music, but like I said on Britney’s terms.”
Whether or not fans decide to attend, Wu says the pop-up shows how much value Spears’s name still has. “(Spears’ name) resonates with a lot of people and a lot of people are excited not just the nostalgia factor but the experience,” Wu says.
Today, Spears posted a teaser image of the Zone on Instagram and Twitter, saying, “OMG this looks so cool!!!” Even with the apparent endorsement, fans aren’t sold.
— I ♡ Britney (@xtinapackard) November 1, 2019
The Zone runs January 31-April 26 at 6310 W. 3rd St., Fairfax.