Britney Spears (Image source: Instagram)
Britney Spears (Image source: Instagram)

New documentary 'Controlling Britney Spears' reveals singer's private conversations were recorded, monitored

ANI | Updated: Sep 25, 2021 18:31 IST

Washington [US], September 25 (ANI): In the newly released documentary, 'Controlling Britney Spears', insiders who had knowledge of Spears' life while in the conservatorship, have come out to discuss openly how it controlled her life and have reacted to the singer's emotional testimony.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, this documentary, a follow-up to last February's 'Framing Britney Spears', has been directed by Samantha Stark with Liz Day as a supervising producer and reporter, and features interviews with insiders who had knowledge of Spears' life while in the conservatorship.
'Controlling Britney Spears', which premiered on FX and Hulu on September 24, features interviews with people with alleged firsthand information about how the legal arrangement has controlled Britney's life for the past 13 years.
Those featured include Spears' former longtime assistant Felicia Culotta, her former head of wardrobe Tish Yates, promotional tour manager of Spears' Circus Tour Dan George, and Alex Vlasov, a former executive assistant, operations and security manager of Spears' longtime security company Black Box Security, reported The Hollywood Reporter.
Of the bigger accounts shared were from Vlasov, who assisted Black Box Security Inc. president, Edan Yemini for nine years. "I was the only person at Black Box who knew everything," he shared.
Vlasov added, "Edan was so relieved when he saw the first documentary [Framing Britney Spears]. He was so relieved that he wasn't mentioned, Black Box wasn't mentioned, Tristar wasn't mentioned. It was his biggest fear that security would somehow draw any attention." Yemini declined to answer questions about his firm's work with Spears for the documentary.
He explained that he would see Spears "very briefly" but everything he knew about the conservatorship would be from Yemini. "We were told the conservatorship was there for her own good. That it was there to protect her from influence, from her losing money, that it was a way for her to have custody of her kids. The same thing was always repeated, 'This is something she wants'." He was also told that 24/7 security was part of the conservatorship.
Vlasov detailed that security's duties included providing Spears with her medication, which would be in pre-packaged envelopes and they'd have to hand it to her to take while they were present. When it was questioned or discussed as to why that would be a security duty, Vlasov said it would be reiterated, "This is what security should be doing because this is what the client is asking for and this is what the client needs." However, the client asking was not Spears but her father Jamie, Vlasov said.
"It really reminded me of somebody that was in prison. Security was put in a position to be the prison guards essentially," he said.
He later shared that everyone grew worried when Spears wanted an iPhone and Yemini asked him whether there were any monitoring services that he knew of or a way to put parental controls on the phone for her "protection," all things he was told the court and Spears' lawyer was aware of.
Vlasov also said it was Robin Greenhill, a staffer of Tri Star Sports and Entertainment, which handle Spears' business management, who suggested that they sign in on an iPad with the same iCloud account Spears would use for the iPhone so her activity would be mirrored and they could see her messages, Facetime calls, notes, photographs, browser history, and more.
"They openly talked about monitoring her," Vlasov said as he added that even her conversations with friends, mom and former lawyer Samuel D. Ingham III would be monitored.

He later revealed that Yemini had a recording device put into the singer's bedroom. Vlasov recalled being handed the audio recording device and a USB drive and asked to wipe it, "That raised so many red flags with me and I did not want to be complicit in whatever they were involved in so I kept a copy because I don't want to delete evidence. I don't think it was a coincidence that it was done, days before she was due to meet with a court investigator."
Edan's lawyer said in a statement to 'GMA', "Black Box have always conducted themselves within professional, ethical and legal bounds and they are particularly proud of their work in keeping Ms Spears safe for many years."
In addition, a lawyer for Britney's father told GMA that "his actions were done with the knowledge and consent of Britney, her court-appointed attorney, and/or the court." He did not elaborate further.
The documentary suggests, however, that he had pretty free reign. "When Jamie was appointed Britney's conservator back in 2008, he was given the authority to hire security for Britney 24/7 and no one really knew what they did. They'd be in the background of photos with Britney," documentary co-creator Liz Day said on 'GMA'."
Liz further added, "But the level of control and the ways that they monitored and surveilled her, we certainly didn't know, and I don't know that anyone ever knew before."
Liz and documentary co-creator Samantha Stark also obtained access to confidential court documents from the past few years while researching for the new project.
"We saw from 2019 that Britney had been expressing to the court that she wanted the conservatorship to end," Samantha told GMA.
She continued, "She wanted to know how she can make it end and she really wanted her father not to be in control of her...Those documents really revealed to us that she had been expressing to the court that she wanted out far earlier than anybody knew."
In June, Britney spoke publicly about and against her conservatorship for the first time in a bombshell court testimony. She called the court-mandated arrangement, put in place following a 2007 psychiatric hospitalization, "abusive."
Lawyers for Britney, who was not involved in the making of either documentary, had no immediate comment about 'Controlling Britney Spears', though the singer has said that watching parts of 'Framing Britney Spears', focused on her past struggles and the continued #FreeBritney movement to get her conservatorship lifted, left her feeling "embarrassed".
In the months since, Britney has made huge strides in her legal battle. Following her court testimony, she has since hired a new lawyer of her own choosing, who has filed to remove her father as a co-conservator and is trying to expedite the matter, citing the singer's recent engagement to longtime boyfriend Sam Asghari.
Jamie, who has defended his treatment of the singer through his attorney, recently petitioned the court to end the conservatorship entirely.
"As Mr Spears has said, again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter. If Ms Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr Spears believes that she should get that chance," his filing stated. The next hearing on the case is set to be held on September 29, as per E! News. (ANI)