Britney Spears’ bedroom bugged, FX documentary says
FX released “Controlling Britney Spears,” a surprise sequel to “Framing Britney Spears,” the New York Times documentary that helped catapult the Free Britney movement into the mainstream and turn the tide of public opinion on Friday. against the tutelage that has dictated virtually every facet of the pop star’s existence since 2008.
It joins a growing body of investigative reporting that includes an explosive exposition in the New Yorker and “Britney vs. Spears,” a documentary to be released by Netflix on Tuesday – a day before the final hearing in the Spears Trusteeship case. .
If you thought it was no longer possible to be shocked by Spears’ circumstances – especially after his passionate condemnation from the Guardianship in June – then “Controlling Britney Spears” may prove you wrong.
Producer Liz Day and director Samantha Stark were able to get several new sources to speak on the 70-minute special, including people closely involved in her safety and behind-the-scenes handling of her tours.
While much of the conversation around guardianship has centered around the role played by Spears’ father, Jamie, some of the more damning allegations in “Controlling Britney Spears” involve personalities from Tri Star Sports and Entertainment. Group, the company that managed Spears ‘business affairs and Black Box, Spears’ longtime security company. Sources in the film describe a coordinated effort by these people to monitor Spears’ privacy in a way that appears to have little to do with his well-being and more to do with his isolation and control.
Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the documentary, which is available to stream on Hulu.
Spears’ security team functioned more like prison guards
A key source is Alex Vlasov, who worked for nearly nine years at Black Box as executive assistant to Edan Yemini, the company’s president, and as head of cybersecurity. (He resigned after the release of “Framing Britney Spears”.)
While the company has been ostensibly hired to protect the singer, it paints a very different picture of the role Black Box played in Spears’ life. The situation “reminded me of someone who was in prison and security was put in a position to be the prison guards,” he said.
When “Framing Britney Spears” came out earlier this year, Vlasov said Yemini was “so relieved” the documentary didn’t mention their work: “It was his biggest fear that security would attract the attention of ‘one way or another. “
All of Spears’ movements were documented in a group text that included his father
Vlasov, who was employed by Black Box from 2012 to 2021, said all of Spears’ movements were monitored and recorded in a text string between Yemini, Jamie Spears and Robin Greenhill, who worked for Tri Star, the company run by Lou Taylor.
“His intimate relationships were closely managed. Britney couldn’t have someone in the privacy of her home without these three people knowing it, ”says Vlasov.
Black Box Security agents allegedly gave Spears envelopes full of drugs and forced her to take them
Vlasov remembers a security guard telling her that they were given medicine for Spears in prepackaged envelopes and that she could not leave until she took them. “Whenever it was discussed it was like, ‘This is what security should do because this is what the customer asks for and this is what the customer needs,” she says, making it clear that the client in this case was Jamie Spears – not his daughter.
All of Spears’ phone activity was reportedly monitored using a mirrored iPad
Vlasov says Black Box monitored Britney’s online activity and digital communications through an iPad that shared the same iCloud account Spears used on his phone. “You will be able to see all messages, all FaceTime calls, notes, browser history, photographs,” he says.
Vlasov says Yemini would ask him to encrypt any text messages he then shares with Jamie Spears.
“They openly talked about watching her,” he said. Not only did they monitor conversations to make sure Spears was not participating in any illegal activity, they also kept track of conversations with his mother, friends, and even his duty counsel, Sam Ingham.
When Vlasov raised concerns about the legality of this surveillance, he said he was told it was for his own protection and that Spears’ court and lawyer knew the communications were being followed.
Audio recording device placed in Spears’ bedroom and captured hundreds of hours of private interactions
Vlasov alleges that Yemini had an audio recording device installed in Spears’ bedroom. According to the documentary, the device captured more than 180 hours of private interactions with her children and boyfriends.
“Ethically it was just a big mess,” Vlasov says of his work at Black Box.
He says that Yemini and another agent eventually asked him to erase the audio recording device, because of the sensitive material it contained. “I didn’t want to be an accomplice,” explains Vlasov, who instead kept the recordings.
According to Vlasov, this happened days before Spears met with a court investigator and reiterated his desire to end the guardianship.
Spears’ spending was so tightly regulated she had to squeeze in some sushi and a pair of Skechers
Another source for the documentary is Tish Yates, who served as a wardrobe manager for several Spears tours during the Guardianship and describes a close relationship with the star during this time.
Yates says Greenhill had almost complete surveillance over Spears, although no one who worked on the tour seemed to understand what his job title was.
“I had to have Robin’s approval before I spoke with Britney about a question Britney had,” says Yates, who recalls that Spears would ask for relatively minor expenses, like sushi, and Greenhill would resist. “I heard Robin say, ‘You ate sushi yesterday, it’s too expensive.'”
Yates also remembers an incident in which Spears spotted a pair of Skechers at the mall, but was not allowed to purchase them with his personal allowance. So Yates bought them out of her wardrobe budget. “We’ll say it didn’t work for the scene. Take them home, ”she told Spears, who actually had a promotional deal with the shoe brand in the early years.
Jamie Spears allegedly tried to create a wedge between Spears and his friend / assistant, Felicia Culotta
Culotta, who also appeared on “Framing Britney Spears,” says she was brought back to help Spears on the 2008 Circus tour, only to be slowly pushed aside.
“I was not allowed to have a conversation with her without the presence of other people,” she recalls. Then Jamie Spears called her to tell her that Britney didn’t want her on the tour anymore, and that if she saw her, she would refuse to go on stage.
Culotta decided to continue the tour as a show of support, but stayed away from Spears. At the end of the European portion of the tour, she bumped into Spears by accident, and rather than angrily responding, the singer “jumped forward and ran down the hall and jumped on me. “, she says. “I thought I’d wait a minute, were they trying to play the two of us against each other?” “
Black Box reportedly investigated the Free Britney movement
Vlasov says Free Britney movement was “thoroughly investigated in its early stages” and undercover agents were placed in crowds to protest guardianship in order to speak to fans and help them identify them .