Britney Spears allegedly called 911 to report abuse, The New Yorker reports

Ronan Farrow and Jia Tolentino discuss new Britney Spears details.

July 05, 2021, 12:45 PM

Britney Spears called 911 to report she was a victim of conservatorship abuse hours before her bombshell statement in court on June 23, according to a new investigation by The New Yorker.

In the July 3 article, "Britney Spears’s Conservatorship Nightmare," reporters Ronan Farrow and Jia Tolentino detailed the evolution of the pop superstar's conservatorship and new details on the 911 call, which they said they confirmed through a person close to Spears and Ventura County law enforcement. The records of Spears's call have been sealed due to an ongoing investigation, according to the article.

Farrow and Tolentino joined "Good Morning America" exclusively on Monday to expand on their reporting.

PHOTO:Britney Spears arrives for the premiere of "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood" in Hollywood, Calif., July 22, 2019.
Britney Spears arrives for the premiere of "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood" in Hollywood, Calif., July 22, 2019.
AFP via Getty Images, FILE

"She really did describe this in terms of criminal abuse. She said, 'my family members and management involved in the creation of that legal structure should go to jail.' She said this in court. We know this from her and it obviously reinforces that -- it seems, she wanted to create a legal record of that complaint," Farrow said on "Good Morning America." "We also know from subsequent other publications confirming our reporting on this in the last couple of days that officers were dispatched in that moment. So it seems like we know that testimony emerged from a moment of her being distraught over this arrangement."

ABC News has not independently confirmed the 911 call.

Farrow added, "what we reveal is other conversations and records at the time show that there were complicated motivations beyond Britney Spears' well-being playing into this."

“Members of Spears’ team began texting one another frantically. They were worried about what Spears might say the next day, and they discussed how to prepare in the event that she went rogue," the article states.

The New Yorker reported that in 2008, a judge gave power of Spears' finances and personal affairs to a team, including her father James "Jamie" Spears, after a hearing that lasted just 10 minutes the day after the singer was hospitalized a second time as she was caught in a bitter divorce and custody battle.

VIDEO: Britney Spears' fight for freedom
VIDEO: Britney Spears' fight for freedom
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Jamie Spears has always denied any accusations of abuse. At the ruling on June 30, his attorneys noted he does not wish to serve as the conservator of his daughter's estate and repeatedly stated that he's "concerned" about her best management and care.

Tolentino explained the history of the arrangement and reported on the structure of Spears' conservatorship, which governs her personal affairs and finances, despite the singer's request last year to remove her father from her conservatorship.

"Everyone we spoke to agrees that Britney was in genuine crisis in 2008 and her parents were sincerely concerned about her well-being but a change was necessary," Tolentino said. "Because conservatorships involve another person or people maintaining significant daily control over basically all aspects of your personal, medical and financial life, they are highly vulnerable to abuse even in the types of arrangement they're intended for."

"Every mistake [Britney] made, made national news and many people we spoke to suspect she had postpartum depression and don't remember anyone speaking to her about it," Tolentino said referencing Spears' struggle with paparazzi, divorce and custody.

Jacqueline Butcher, a former friend of the Spears family whose testimony first helped created the conservatorship, told the New Yorker that she regrets her actions.

"At the time, I thought we were helping ... And I wasn’t, and I helped a corrupt family seize all this control," Butcher said.

According to Butcher, Britney Spears' mother Lynne thought the conservatorship would only last a few months, but when the New Yorker spoke to Lynne last month, she said she had "...mixed feelings about everything ... I don’t know what to think ... It’s a lot of pain, a lot of worry."

During Spears' June 23 hearing, the 39-year-old described to a judge over the phone how she has been isolated, exploited, embarrassed and demoralized by the conservatorship that has controlled her life and finances for the last 13 years and asked that it be terminated.

The New Yorker article also revealed additional details about Britney Spears' involvement in her social media posts, after she admitted in court she has lied online, pretending to be happy when she's not. The New Yorker explained she does write her own captions, but then must submit them to a company that manages her accounts for approval. One team member told the New Yorker that Britney is "not supposed to discuss the conservatorship."

Although the singer has earned millions while uner the conservators' control, the New Yorker reported that in 2012, while wrapping up a $1,300 dinner, Spears told a friend "she couldn't afford to pay her half of [the bill]." At the time she was making $15 million as a judge on "X-Factor," but Spears said, "she was limited to a $2,000 weekly allowance, no matter how much she earned."

Her next hearing is scheduled for July 14.

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