Britney Spears fans are blocking TMZ over the site's new unauthorized documentary of the singer, calling it 'exploitation'
Britney Spears fans are blocking TMZ on their social feeds in protest of a new Britney Spears film.
"The Price of Freedom" covers Spears' life since her conservatorship ended in November 2021.
Fans have called the project "harassment," and encouraged supporters to deny TMZ engagement.
Birtney Spears fans are blocking TMZ on their social feeds to protest the gossip outlet's new, unauthorized movie dedicated to Spears's life since her conservatorship ended.
In "Britney Spears: The Price of Freedom," TMZ staff describe marital strife between Spears and her husband, Sam Asghari, and share accusations that Spears has been "physical" with Asgahari. The project has been criticized for not including any firsthand accounts from people who know Spears personally, as Insider's Eve Crosbie has reported.
Fans have accused the film of "exploitation" and "gaslighting." Many have questioned the veracity of the film's accusations and have encouraged supporters to block the outlet in a #TMZBlockParty and #JusticeForBritney protest to express their disapproval and deny the outlet engagement on its salacious content.
Ahead of the project's premiere on Fox on Monday, 29-year-old Asghari posted a video to his Instagram stories on Sunday denouncing the film.
"How are you going to take the most influential person of her generation, the Princess of Pop, America's sweetheart, and put her in prison where her father tells her what to do, what water to drink, who to see, and use her as a money-making machine... And then, all of a sudden, after 15 years — when she's free after all that gaslighting, after all the things that went down — now you're going to put her under a microscope and tell her story? No, no, that's also disgusting, so don't do that."
He also asked viewers not to believe what they read in clickbait designed "to make money."
—Pop Base (@PopBase) May 14, 2023
Spears, who became famous at 16, faced years of inexhaustible, all-consuming tabloid coverage of her life and mental health — most notably in 2007 when she shaved her head. (In 2008, Spears was placed under a conservatorship, led by her father, that wouldn't end until 2021).
—Christian (@cwfassbender) May 15, 2023
In part thanks to a call for accountability from Spears's fans, many now view that era's cultural fixation and coverage of the 26-year-old to have been gravely irresponsible and misogynistic. Outlets such as Glamour have apologized to Spears publicly after the New York Times documentary "Framing Britney Spears" aired in February 2021, writing: "We're sorry, Britney. We are all to blame for what happened to Britney Spears."
—The Blackout Starbucks Napkin 💥☕️🖤🧡💛❤️ (@Kimme_more13) May 14, 2023
This is not the first time that Spears' fans have leveraged social media on behalf of the star. The grassroots #FreeBritney campaign, which believed Spears was being controlled and manipulated in her conservatorship, evolved from a niche online group into a powerful activism vehicle that pushed Britney's case to the forefront of the cultural consciousness. In a 2020 court filing, Spears' lawyer said the #FreeBritney movement was "essential" to ending a conservatorship that Spears later described as "abusive." Spears herself thanked the movement for speaking up on her behalf when her voice was "muted and threatened."
—Paulina L (Taylor's Version) ◢ ◤ 🇵🇱🇺🇦🇨🇦 (@paulinaliwski) May 15, 2023
Many believe the same unrelenting, sensationalized coverage of Spears' sexuality, mental health, and motherhood wouldn't fly today — 16 years later — thanks partly to social media and the #MeToo movement. Jen Peros, a former Us Weekly editor, told the New York Times in 2021 that Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato were contemporary examples of celebrities treated more humanely in news coverage. But, fans worry that the brand-new TMZ "The Price of Freedom" project is a fresh example of coverage that's tantamount to "harassment."
Spears has not publicly commented on the documentary, and Spears' representatives did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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