For some, Britney Spears’ Instagram is a happy, whimsical land of backyard flower paintings and spin-filled living room dance routines. For others, however, it’s an intricate coded map which, when deciphered, is a direct line to the singer’s most intimate thoughts and desires.
According to her social media team, however, it’s just a place where she posts photos. Mhmm.
Cassie Petrey is a co-founder of the digital marketing company CrowdSurf, which manages Spears’ accounts along with a handful of other stars. Petrey posted a multi-slide Instagram responding to a Jan. 22 Twitter thread by fan account @BritneyHiatus that claimed that she was involved in Spears' controversial conservatorship. Petrey denied the allegations, claiming instead that the star has full control over her posts. "I absolutely adore the Britney Spears' fan base [...] I know everything they do and say is because they truly love her," she wrote. "Which is why it's been so easy for me to overlook some of the nasty comments that have been thrown my way over the years."
Petrey alleged that she's noticed "a lot of inaccurate theories out there about how the Britney Spears' social media operates." However, she says "Britney creates her own posts and writes her own captions for Instagram."
"She finds the google images, Pinterest images, quotes, memes, and everything else herself," she went on to explain. "Nobody is suggesting any of that stuff to her. She generally edits the videos herself. If a video she sends in is edited by her social media team, it's because she gave specific instructions and asked for it to be edited that way. Then she sees it and decides if she wants to post it or not.”
Petrey vehemently claimed that there is nothing "coded" in the singer's posts. “Britney is not ‘asking for help’ or leaving secret messages in her social media,” Petrey wrote. “She is literally just living her life and trying to have fun on Instagram. She has a team to help strategize like any major celebrity generally does at this point in her career.” (A podcast called Britney's Gram, which has been devoted to scrutinizing the singer's Instagram, has been deeply involved in the #FreeBritney movement).
Whether or not Petrey's claims are true is yet another mystery to tack on to the heavily complicated and shrouded legal battle that is Spears' conservatorship. But it likely won't stop those involved in the campaign to #FreeBritney from rallying for their cause — especially since a court case confirmed that it's not a hoax.
“Far from being a conspiracy theory or a ‘joke’ as [Spears' father Jamie] reportedly told the media, in large part this scrutiny [on social media] is a reasonable and even predictable result of James’ aggressive use of the sealing procedure over the years to minimize the amount of meaningful information made available to the public,” Spears' lawyer stated back in September 2020. “Whatever merits his strategy might have had years ago when Britney was trying to restart her career, at this point in her life when she is trying to regain some measure of personal autonomy, Britney welcomes and appreciates the informed support of her many fans.”
Refinery29 reached out to Spears for comment.