‘Framing Britney Spears’ Doc Nabs Emmy Nomination In Midst Of Singer’s Ongoing Conservatorship Battle

Framing Britney Spears, the New York Times documentary that brought renewed attention to the pop singer’s conservatorship, earned an Emmy nomination today for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special.

The recognition came a day before another major hearing in downtown Los Angeles where a judge will hear more arguments related to the conservatorship, a court-ordered arrangement originally imposed on Spears in 2008 after she apparently struggled with mental health issues. The singer appeared in court last month, calling the conservatorship abusive and asking that her father, Jamie Spears, be removed as conservator.

The documentary, directed and produced by Samantha Stark and written by Liz Day, debuted in February as part of the FX series The New York Times Presents. It explored the conservatorship, the way the tabloid and television news media treated Spears during the height of her struggles in the late 1990s and early aughts, and the #FreeBritney movement that rose up in 2019, an attempt by fans to protest the conservatorship and potentially “free” Spears from it.

During an appearance in Deadline’s Contenders Television event in May, Stark offered her perspective on the conservatorship.

“[Spears] is put in this very restrictive legal arrangement, really meant for people who cannot communicate or make decision for themselves,” Stark commented. “We really wanted to examine that because we felt it… hasn’t been examined by journalists very deeply.”

In the Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special category, Framing Britney Spears will go up against Boys State, The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, The Social Dilemma, and Tina.

Spears, 39, addressed Judge Brenda Penny in Los Angeles Superior Court for 30 minutes on June 23, saying under the terms of the conservatorship she was forced to work, could not make creative decisions about her shows, and was required to use a birth control device to prevent her from having any more children (she has two teenage boys by ex-husband Kevin Federline). A week later, Judge Penny denied the request to remove Spears father as conservator.

Since Spears’ virtual court appearance, numerous celebrities have rallied to her cause, including Cher, Mariah Carey, Spears’ ex-Mickey Mouse Club alum Christina Aguilera, and fellow ex-Mouseketeer and former boyfriend Justin Timberlake.

A flurry of developments has taken place in recent weeks relating to the conservatorship: Spears’ long-serving manager, Larry Rudolph, resigned; Samuel D. Ingham III, an attorney appointed by the court in 2008 to represent Spears, also asked to resign, and Bessemer Trust, a wealth-management firm that was poised to become co-conservator of Spears, announced its intention to withdraw. Spears reportedly is seeking to have a new lawyer appointed on her behalf to argue for an end to the conservatorship, a proposal that may be addressed at Wednesday’s hearing.

“A lot of people told us the conservatorship, it’s been there forever, you can’t crack it,” Stark told Deadline in May. “It’s always going to remain the same. And as we were filming, surprisingly these court documents started coming out indicating that Britney wanted something in the conservatorship to change and that she wanted her father removed [as conservator]… We wanted to just look at the facts.”

Framing Britney Spears triggered over a million Tweets within days of its February debut. Spears later posted on Instagram that she hadn’t seen the film, but wrote, “I was embarrassed by the light they put me in… I cried for two weeks.”

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