The fight to free Britney Spears of her conservatorship might be our country's last bipartisan issue. Following Spears' heartbreaking testimony on June 23, Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bob Casey wrote an impassioned letter demanding comprehensive data on conservatorships and guardianships. Sen. Ted Cruz, meanwhile, clarified that he is "squarely and unequivocally in the camp of Free Britney" on an episode of his podcast, Verdict with Ted Cruz. But no one could have predicted that Matt Gaetz, the disgraced Florida congressman currently under investigation for sex trafficking, would be the newest member of Team Britney.
After a pivotal court hearing on Wednesday, Gaetz addressed the crowd at a #FreeBritney rally in Los Angeles. "Britney has been abused by the media. She's been abused by a grifter father, and she has been abused by the American justice system," he said. Gaetz added that we need to create "a federal change" to protect Americans like Spears from controlling, allegedly abusive conservators like her father, Jamie Spears.
"There were grifters in this process who tried to act like they spoke for Britney, that they knew what she wanted," he continued. "Well, now the whole world knows what Britney Spears wants, and it is the freedom and the liberty that should be offered to every single American."
Surprisingly, Gaetz's presence was well-received, and his comments were met with thunderous cheers and applause. Maybe it's because, as Gaetz said, "There's a lot that still divides us, but one thing we can all agree on is that Jamie Spears is a dick." Heartbreaking: The worst person you know just made a great point.
But Spears' case doesn't exist in a vacuum. Gaetz conveniently didn't mention one of the most horrific details from her testimony — that she's been forced to use an IUD, even though she wants to get pregnant — because he's been a leading voice against reproductive freedom. And, as several others have pointed out, it's disturbing to watch Gaetz denounce the "abuse" Spears has faced when he Gaetz cast the lone vote against a human trafficking bill in 2017 and currently stands accused of child sex trafficking and sexual relationships with a minor.
For the past 13 years, Spears' father has controlled practically every aspect of her life, from her finances to her career to the medication she takes. The #FreeBritney movement regained traction in June, when Spears spoke about her conservatorship at length for the first time in a devastating testimony. "It is my wish and dream for all of this to end. I want my life back," she said during a June 23 hearing. "I deserve to have a life. I've worked my whole life."
Wednesday's hearing marked a turning point in Spears' case: She was granted permission to choose and hire her own legal representation for the first time since 2008. Although Spears said she's "grown with a personal relationship" with her previous lawyer, Samuel Ingham III, she wanted the right to select her own attorney. She also alleged that Ingham discouraged her from speaking publicly about her conservatorship, and said that she had to do her own legal research at times. With her new lawyer, former federal prosecutor Matthew Rosengart, Spears could be one step closer to freedom.
"You're allowing my dad to ruin my life," Spears said on Wednesday. "I have to get rid of my dad and charge him with conservatorship abuse."
Spears' next hearing is scheduled for September 29, and there will surely be another #FreeBritney rally. But a quick message to Gaetz: Whatever your motive is here, just leave Britney alone.