November 4, 2021
Comedians, #freebritney activists, journalists, and podcastors Tess Barker & Babs Gray join Jameela this week to discuss all things Britney Spears and conservatorships. They discuss how having a fan-podcast about Britney’s instagram led them to learning more about Britney’s conservatorship, break down the details of the conservatorship and the consistently questionable methods which were used to keep Britney in it, explore what conservatorships are at large and why the system is so often problematic, cover why Keanu Reeves would be the perfect executor of a trust, and more. To learn more about Tess & Bab’s work reporting on Britney Spears’ conservatorship, listen to their podcast – Toxic: The Britney Spears Story.
You can follow Babs Gray on Instagram and Twitter@babsgray
And listen to Toxic: The Britney Spears Story here – https://www.stitcher.com/show/toxic-the-britney-spears-story
You can find transcripts for this episode on the Earwolf website.
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83 — Britney Spears and Conservatorships with Tess Barker & Babs Gray
Jameela [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to another episode of I Weigh with Jameela Jamil. How are you? I’m. I’m technically fine, but I am depressed. I mean, like, literally depressed and my depression comes and goes all the time you’ve watched me kind of go through a wave of like a rollercoaster over the last year and a half, and I would say I’ve made quite a lot of progress. But even when you make loads of progress, even when you have loads of therapy, you still just have really dark times and you can’t predict them and you cannot control them. What you have to remember is that you’ve gotten up before and you will get up again. You will rise once more. And that every time you fall, you have more tools each time to pick yourself back up. And so I am trying to do what I would do with any of you and remind myself of that, that yes, I may have taken a few steps backwards, but that doesn’t eradicate all of the work I’ve done and all of the ways in which I know I have the power to make myself feel better. But Halloween was fucking hard because, I mean, I just had panic attacks. Every time I was asked to even leave the house, any time I was invited to a party, I would have a literal anxiety attack and then watching Instagram, which I know is ballocks. But really, it was intense in the last week. Everyone having the energy to create, like all these creative costumes and do all this makeup and hair and everyone looked like they’re having so much fun and they were dancing. And mostly it just looked like they were just fine just post-pandemic. Absolutely fine with socializing, with hundreds of people signed with dancing with, you know, being a quote unquote normal person made me feel like a Martian. And it went on for so long. People are still posting their pictures of Halloween from last weekend because we haven’t had Halloween last year, so I think that’s just like they finally have not to sound gross. I think some people are doing it because they just had loads of lovely memories, but I feel like so many people got quote unquote content last weekend, and they’re just really milking it. And and it’s annoying me, and that doesn’t mean that it’s right for it to annoy me. But I’m just being honest with you because we’re kind of weird friends. I was annoyed, and that’s probably because I’m jealous, because I feel unable to do the same. So I’ve been a bit jealous and bitter and depressed, not just because of Halloween. Halloween just exacerbated, I think highlighted to me how underprepared I am for the world, and I shouldn’t technically be having panic attacks at the idea of going and seeing people, even people that I really love. But I can’t. Yeah, I’m not coping brilliantly at the moment, and there’s just going to be loads of highs and lows in life, and that’s OK. And none of this invalidates any of your feelings. Your happiness doesn’t invalidate your sadness, and your sadness does not invalidate your happiness. So, you know, if you’re feeling the same, I’m so with you. I’m just beneath you in a gutter feeling unfair thoughts. Anyway, um, so that’s happening. So I’m just telling you, how about how I feel about that. Much more importantly, is the subject of today’s podcast, and I feel so unbelievably lucky to have been able to have this conversation because whatever the fuck my problems are that I know it’s not something you should all calm and compare. But the story of the woman we are discussing today has truly rocked the world, and I’m talking about Britney Spears. She’s not the guest of this podcast, just to calm you down immediately. But this is an episode in a large part dedicated to Britney Spears and how incredible she is. I’ve been a fan of hers from the very beginning, and I, in spite of being such a big fan, was blissfully unaware until the last couple of years of how horrendous her life has become. I can’t believe it, but I just sort of. I bought into the media version of what happened in 2008 and then just sort of stopped thinking about her and just enjoyed her music, enjoyed her output, enjoyed her as a judge on American Idol. I didn’t have any idea that this was happening also, partly because I didn’t think that anything like this could happen to her. By this, I’m talking about her conservatorship, which we are learning day by day, more and more so, just how obstructive and scary and manipulative and abusive it appears to be. So I somehow managed to get two very busy women. Their names are Tess and Babs. They are the founders of the FreeBritney movement. I managed to get their time even during a moment that is so busy for them. They have so much work to do. This is the month in which we are hopefully going to see the actual freeing of Britney, where she will no longer be in this unbelievably constructive and evil conservatorship that she’s been in. These two women were just comedians. They were comedians who started a podcast, a kind of comedy podcast about Britney Spears on Instagram. They were fans of hers. And during that time, they started to become more invested in her story and started to pay attention to what was happening to her and started to question her living circumstances. In doing so, they one day got a phone call, an anonymous phone call where they were tipped off about the fact that their suspicions were correct, that there was something wrong with Britney’s conservatorship. That phone call would go on to not just change their lives, but Britney’s lives. And maybe now because of all of their work to free Britney and raise awareness around not only her conservatorship but conservatorships at large. It may go on to change the lives of millions of people in the future. They have worked tirelessly to raise awareness and educate people about the entire conservatorship system. They’ve kind of become self-made experts and have interviewed all kinds of different people across the spectrum of the legal system and the medical system about conservatorship to be able to understand how they work, what’s wrong with them and how we can change them in order to protect not just people like Britney Spears who are incredibly powerful and privileged, but those who don’t have her fame, her visibility, her money and her potential for power. How do we make sure that all people are safe from a system that can turn you into a captive human being? And so in this podcast, they teach me about conservatorships. They explained to me their story on how they came to be the founders of the FreeBritney movement. They explain her situation to me because I still have, like, somewhat surface level knowledge, and they’re such experts and we talk about how ordinary people like them can go on to care about something so much that they do something extraordinary with their passion to help other people. They’re so, so amazing, and they’re such smart and fierce women. You can only imagine the kind of anxiety that must come with taking on such a high profile case the way they did. We talk about the ways in which they’ve been interfered with and surveilled because of their work to try to free Britney. And it’s just a giant love in between me and them because I’m so in awe of their tireless work in this area. It’s such a great episode. They’re so informative. They’re so passionate. They’re so warm and funny and cool. You are going to fall madly in love with them and you are going to feel invigorated to help join the fight for people with disabilities against the current system of conservatorship. This is the excellent Tess and Babs. Tess and Babs, welcome to I Weigh. How are you?
Tess [00:07:57] I’m well, how are you?
Jameela [00:07:59] I’m so good. I’m star I’m a bit starstruck. If I’m honest, I’m such a big fan. I think you guys are so amazing. I can’t believe. I can’t believe what you’ve done. OK, so for those who are not aware of you, you are both the co-founders, I would say of the FreeBritney movement. That’s fair to say. Correct.
Tess [00:08:21] It’s the we helped kick start this iteration of it.
Jameela [00:08:24] Exactly.
Babs [00:08:24] Yeah, we don’t. Yeah, it’s I don’t think credit goes to any one person or us two. It’s definitely a collective movement, but we definitely yes, we’re a part of kickstarting it to where it is now, for sure.
Jameela [00:08:36] What a four years you’ve had in particular the last year has just been so astounding to watch how much has come out, how much information, how much gaslighting has been going on, how much abuse of power has taken place, and also just to see the power of the public, the power of the people. How much all of you out there who have helped push along the momentum for Britney’s freedom, how much you have achieved and I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be in many ways, but also just in the one positive to know that she has people out there who love her so much people who she’s never even met. It’s amazing. So 2017 was, can we just take it back just to quickly for anyone who isn’t exactly familiar with your work. 2017 was when you first started a podcast kind of about Britney’s Instagram. You have a Super Bowl. You both like super fans before or?
Tess [00:09:29] Yeah, I mean, I would say I’ve been a huge Britney fan, you know, since she popped onto the scene. She’s about my age. I was definitely in the TRL generation, have bought every single one of her albums, was definitely a huge fan. But yeah, and Babs and I, you know, we both love throwing dance parties and doing things like that. We’ve seen her together, but really, we just had another comedy podcast together and we were at brunch one day and she dropped a post. I don’t know if you remember it, but it was her painting on a veranda with like Mozart music in the background, and we were just totally befuddled by it. Our friends were texting us about it. We were getting all kinds of DMs about it, and Babs was like, We should start a podcast where like, the joke is we just really overanalyze Britney’s Instagram because it was just such a point of fascination for us. And it was just sort of like a lark of an idea that we followed through on, really.
Jameela [00:10:17] And then in 2019, it was when you got a phone call from an alleged paralegal in the Britney case who tipped you off, right?
Babs [00:10:29] So, so basically, yeah, it was, you know, we were just talking about it in the comedy kind of sense for a long time. And then late 2018, Tess kind of start. We knew about the conservatorship, you know, we started we were looking at the posts in that lens, sometimes where we were like, why? You know, she’ll post a mean that says, Let me shop and no one gets hurt. And then she wrote, literally in the caption. And then you think, like, Well, that’s weird. She’s Britney Spears. Why can’t she shop? But then you’d when you’d look at the details of the conservatorship, you’re like, Oh, she doesn’t have access to her own money. So we did kind of start looking at the posts as kind of like a window into maybe how she actually felt. And then we actually started looking at the conservatorship papers themselves. Late 2018, Tess went to a hearing where her co-conservator asked for a huge raise and that was a red flag. So we were investigating the conservatorship on the podcast for quite a few months, and then all this stuff happened. She canceled her residency. She kind of disappeared from sight. And then we got this voicemail on the podcast in April 2019, so it was all kind of like snowballing. Up until that point,
Jameela [00:11:35] how did it feel when you first got that call?
Tess [00:11:38] It was a really overwhelming feeling. It was I mean, the hair was standing up on my arms. I was editing the podcast. It was like 11 o’clock at night. And you know, I thought the episode was like ready to export. And I noticed one voicemail that was longer than the rest of them. Because just for context, the voicemail box was something that we used for listeners to call in and kind of just give their a little theories about what her Instagram was about. You know, that’s what it was really intended for. And so I thought we had enough for the episode. And then I noticed one that was longer than the rest of them. And just from the beginning, he goes, Hi, you know, I can’t say who I am. I just want to say, you guys are on to something. And I just felt like a gut punch, just like, you know, you could hear the nervousness in his voice and. It was this really crazy moment because it was like, you know, as soon as Babs and I talked, it was this moment of like, we’re no longer just like commenting on the situation. We now have to decide, like whether we want to act on this and like what to do about it. And so it was it really felt like this huge responsibility that had sort of been just dropped in our lap.
Jameela [00:12:38] Oh my goodness. And what about you, Babs? Also
Babs [00:12:40] Same, you know, it’s every time I even think about it, it gives me. It gives me chills because I was in Austin doing comedy. Tess called me super late at night, which was not, you know, really normal. So I felt like something was a little bit weird that she was calling me so late. She said, You have to listen to voicemail and I listen to it. And I was just, yeah, my mind was blown. I mean, you know, there’s a lot of details that go into what he was talking about, but basically Britney had been gone, you know, out of the public eye for quite a few months. And then the news had broken that she had checked herself into a mental health facility and that you’ve been there for a week. But we thought that that was not real because she seems to have been gone much longer. Basically, what he said was, you’re right, she’s been there against her will for quite some time. You know, she doesn’t want to be there. So it was just like horrific. And like Tess said, we had a huge decision to make and I don’t even know if I don’t even know if there was a question of the decision. We kind of knew we had to do it and we were like, This information is to be heard. Let’s go through with this. You know, we talked to him more. We confirmed where he, you know, his his former place of work, and we decided to release the episode and we called it Free Britney and released it kind of in the middle of the night, hoping that it wouldn’t. We were scared it could get taken down or something, you know, we didn’t know. And so, yeah, then the next day, Britney’s mom was liking comments that said, Free Britney because it went kind of viral overnight. And then that’s kind of what when people were like, Oh, there’s definitely something to this and it kind of went from there.
Jameela [00:14:10] I’ve been a long time Britney fan from the very, very start. And you know, it’s just I feel like I’ve grown up with her again, roughly a similar age and and think that she’s been such an interesting figure as a woman in the public eye, watching her go through that cycle of being so adored, so overexposed, and then so feasted on by the media and then turned on by the media and the way they’ve twisted every single moment and action of hers and demonized and blamed her for so much in our society. She’s just been this fascinating icon of our generation, and not just because she’s so extraordinary, but also because of how demonized she’s been. She’s been this kind of example in which we’ve seen patriarchy play out so intensely in every way it can, just upon this one unbelievably strong and resilient human being. It’s just remarkable that she’s even still here with everything she’s gone through.
Tess [00:15:08] Yeah, I mean, her resilience just astounds me. I mean, the number one word I think of when I think about Britney Spears is survivor. I mean, that is a woman who has persisted, and I think so many people see her as an everywoman. I think that’s why she was so beloved by so many people is that a lot of women on a much smaller scale have lived the same thing have sort of felt like they they they can neither, you know, they’re too big or too small. There’s too out there or they’re too ambitious or they’re too much mothers, you know. So I think all of the things that we put on women, we put on Britney Spears times a thousand. And I think that’s the way a lot of us have this really emotional reaction to what happened to her.
Jameela [00:15:49] Can you break down the circumstances that she’s been living in since 2008?
Babs [00:15:55] Right. So basically in 2008, she was, you know, put into a 51 50 hold, and we’ve done a lot of research on this, you know, on our podcast, we break down that whole weekend that that happened and everything that went down. And you know, those are supposed to be for someone who’s in an emergency health situation, you know, mentally or otherwise. From all indications, she was not in that, you know, it was preplanned. The cops knew for two days they planned a route to her house. They took her to the hospital. That’s when her dad stepped in, got an emergency conservatorship, and then he basically made it permanent and was there until, you know, just recently. So everything happened very fast at that at that phase. And, you know, conservatorships, they take away many, many of your rights. So she’s in both a financial conservatorship and a personal conservatorship and financially. That means that they have access to all of her money. You know, she’s not the one who sees any of her, her bank accounts, anything like that. They sign her work contracts. You know, they can decide if she’s working or not. And then personally, that means they control who she visits, who comes to her house, who how she goes to her medical care. You know who she goes to see all those kinds of things. And then there’s also marriage. And if you can vote wrapped up in those, we haven’t been able to be clear if that’s part of it or not, that’s been kind of, you know in a gray area, but yeah, it’s it’s a lot of your basic human rights are stripped.
Tess [00:17:22] So, yeah, so as a function of that part of what the letters of conservatorship that the court issued to Britney’s dad stipulated that he also could control which who her security was. And that’s 24-7 security. The New York Times released a documentary about a month and about a month ago, I think, a month and a half ago, and that revealed that her security team was mirroring every single message that came out. They were mirroring all the activity on her iPhone, every single ingoing and outgoing texts. They were monitoring her 24 hours a day. And they even had recording devices in her bedroom and had captured without her consent a hundred and eighty hours of recordings between things like her and her boyfriend, her and her kids. And so she was living under,
Jameela [00:18:04] Oh my god, that invasion of privacy is so terrifying.
Tess [00:18:09] Yeah. Yeah.
Babs [00:18:13] Yeah, so the security was, you know, basically reported every little thing back to her father. And and we also know that, you know, she was her kids were used as kind of a weapon against her. Basically, you know, every time she would do something where she would quote, act up in their eyes, they would say, Well, if you want access to your kids, you’re going to need to, you know, do this or that so.
Jameela [00:18:36] I mean, there was a part where she was talking, you know, in her in her speech when she finally spoke at the court about the fact that sometimes she just didn’t want to do a particular dance move that would be considered her acting up. And she would be made to feel as though she’d done something really bad, and she would be made to feel like something was going to be taken away from her. This is fucking out of control. It also baffles me. I don’t, I don’t understand, and I think nobody understands how someone who has done so many tours and residencies and released whole albums and was a fucking judge on American Idol. How was she considered when she’s doing, I mean, death defying stunts on stage, she’s allowed to do all of that, trusted to capably do all of those things, sometimes on live television or in front of hundreds of thousands of people in an audience. How is someone like that considered unable to, even at the most basic fundamental level, look after themselves?
Tess [00:19:35] Exactly. And then it was even more infuriating. Is that on top of that, we’ve discovered through our reporting and through people that, you know, have helped us do research on this case. The document that is supposed to be there to put someone into a conservatorship is called a capacity declaration, and that’s supposed to be filled out by a doctor. And the doctor says this person doesn’t have the capacity to shelter themselves, provide themselves with food that was never filed in Britney’s case.
Jameela [00:19:59] How?
Tess [00:19:59] I know. Yes.
Jameela [00:20:03] What judge, like what Judge allowed this to happen without the necessary documentation.
Tess [00:20:08] Her name is Riva gets money and she’s part of a probate system. Yeah. And I mean, so that’s I mean, I think it’s really the how is wrapped in with the why. And you know, what we really firmly believe is that there were a lot of people having access to quite a bit of money and power by keeping Britney in this situation. And absolutely nobody who had a financial interest in actually helping Britney, she was left with absolutely zero resources to get out of the situation.
Jameela [00:20:34] And so I think, you know, we’re going to get into this later as I ask you to please break down conservatorships for me because I know you guys have kind of become experts on this via, your toxic podcasts and all of the vast amount of research you’ve done over the last couple of years. But. How is there no point at which if someone is, let’s say, temporarily very temporarily incapacitated, unable to look after themselves or their children or whatever, if their situation if their condition improves? Clearly, she got better. Clearly, she became a professional individual who was able to bankroll dozens and dozens of people at a very high level, at the highest level, probably in the entertainment industry, in the world. How is there no way to revise that conservatorship? What is this that someone can get better and they’re still stuck in the same exact thing from their lowest moment?
Babs [00:21:31] Well, that’s what’s odd about, you know, her situation as well is that there is there’s different kinds of conservatorships as well, and there’s an LPS conservatorship was which is intended for mental health issues that are say, you know, we hope this is going to get better and they review them once a year. She got put into a different kind of conservatorship. That’s financial. And so basically, it’s all about her finances, and those don’t get renewed every year because generally they are for people who are much older and they just consider, Oh, this person’s going to have this forever, probably until they die. We don’t need the option of revising.
Jameela [00:22:06] Right.
Tess [00:22:08] And then that so in those probate conservatorships, the structures that are in place towards the end of that person’s life, those same people remain in charge of the estate after they pass away. That’s the way it’s set up.
Jameela [00:22:20] Yeah. What makes me so sad is what a huge part the media had to play in this because I remember watching her at the time, and I’ve also seen this happen to people in my own industry now as an adult. You know, back then when I was watching all of this happen, I wasn’t anywhere near this industry. Now I have watched the way that the paparazzi will deliberately push people to the point where there was not. I mean, they’ve done it to me even when I was 26 years old. Part of why I moved to America was to get out of England because of the paparazzi. They would wait outside my house 24 hours a day. I’d gained weight and they wanted to shame me for gaining weight. And so they would call me. And I’m sorry for this language, but a fat cunt to my face, constantly outside my door. They would photograph if I had to bend over to pick up my keys because I drop something, they take a photograph of my ass. Put it on the front cover of a magazine. And so they would antagonize me, ridicule me and ridicule my body and say all these ugly things to me. Not because they even necessarily really thought those things because they were trying to provoke a reaction. They wanted me to cry because that’s a great photograph that pushes the narrative that I’m I’m fat and therefore I’m miserable and I’m sad and I’m lonely. All they wanted me to like react. They want you to react and like, break their camera and attack one of them because that’s huge payout for them. And it’s pay out for the photographs like everyone wins when a celebrity snaps. And so what was fascinating was being being a member of the public and and as we all like, we all were seeing just the photographs back in 2008 of her meltdown. And then now in the documentary that, you know, came out a couple of months ago that kind of zoomed out and showed us the paparazzi onslaught like we never used to get to see how many paparazzi were around her when those photographs are being taken. Do you know, what do you know what I’m trying to say.
Tess [00:24:14] Oh 100%.
Jameela [00:24:14] Is that we’re just seeing the picture. We’re not seeing the context of the picture to see in the documentary and see that there are literally 60 men screaming and flashing cameras at her as she’s holding her newborn baby, where she’s run into a cafe to hide from them and is sitting there with her head down. Just not able to move, not able to speak or breathe, just hoping that they will find some humanity within them and within themselves, and just leave her alone and recognize that this looks like a wilding. I mean, it looks like a like hyenas attacking a deer.
Tess [00:24:48] We talked to some paparazzi in doing research for Toxic. And I’m sorry, this is kind of disturbing language, but we found out from a paparazzi that the term they use for when there’s one person in the middle of a group of people like that is a gang bang.
Jameela [00:25:01] Oh my God.
Tess [00:25:02] That’s what they call it.
Babs [00:25:07] Yeah. No, it’s
Jameela [00:25:10] Oh my God. And by the way, like that is it doesn’t there’s a part of your brain, you know, when you’re in that situation that hasn’t updated to know that you are probably not going to be attacked. I remember being like swarmed by maybe it was like 12 paparazzi. It’s late at night. I’m walking outside of a hotel. And they brought me to my floor. I felt this cold lens between my thighs as they were trying to get a picture up my skirt. And so I was only 23 at the time, and I remember curling into a ball. And oddly, the lead singer of a band called Texas, Sharleen Spiteri, saw that happen to me, and she came in and like, beat all the paparazzi off and grabbed me and ran off and put me in her car and drove me home. She’s a total legend, but you don’t know in that situation that you’re not about to be sexually assaulted because it’s 10 men that you don’t know. They’re much bigger than you, much stronger than you. They’re all screaming. You can’t hear anything. You can’t see anything because of the flashes and you’re being brought to the ground and the hands on you. I’ve had them climb into the car that I’m in, where they open all four doors and climb into the car and like photographing and flashing in my eyes. And so I’m I was so not famous compared to Britney that I cannot imagine that happened to the fact that I remember these incidences. I bet she can’t even remember how many how many of this this happened to her so many times? I bet she wouldn’t even be able to isolate a particular incident. Can you imagine going through that?
Tess [00:26:32] It was every day.
Jameela [00:26:34] For 15 years?
Tess [00:26:35] Yeah. And I mean, I don’t know, just hearing you describe that. I mean, I feel uncomfortable if a man gets too close to me on a train, one man, you know, so just I’m trying to imagine the anxiety of that times 50
Jameela [00:26:48] and then times that by a thousand when you’re holding your baby.
Babs [00:26:52] Mm hmm.
Jameela [00:26:53] Your baby’s clearly upset or afraid and you feel responsible for them because they didn’t ask for this life. And neither fucking did you. I mean, she was a baby when she started in this industry. She didn’t know what she was signing up for. I also feel like we hadn’t really seen that level of of global obsession for someone that young before Britney.
Babs [00:27:13] No, you’re right, she is she’s such a unique case, I mean, obviously there have been so many, you know,.
Jameela [00:27:19] Yeah, since then as well.
Babs [00:27:21] Yeah, from paparazzi and things like that. But she in many ways we think of her like it was, she was the sacrificial lamb. I don’t know what it was, but Britney had to take the heat completely. You know, the constant questions about her virginity, all the paparazzi. And yeah, when you look at it with this perspective and you zoom out like you said and you see all the men, you of course, understand why she did the things she did, why she got upset and hit someone’s car with an umbrella, why she shaved her head. I mean, it all makes so much sense.
Jameela [00:27:47] All those photos all those photos make so much more sense when you could see the scenario she was in, that would. I mean, I’m amazed she didn’t kill someone, honestly.
Tess [00:27:56] Mm hmm.
Babs [00:27:57] She’s never hurt anyone. That’s why she’s never there she has been had her all of our rights taken away, and she is never hurt anyone. That is what is so wild. I mean, how many, you know, male celebrities have gotten away with physically hurting people, and they’ve not had their rights taken away. It’s just it’s truly disgusting.
Jameela [00:28:19] It’s so true, you say that there are so many men have actually been arrested for harming women or men who have harmed themselves, like people who have like lived lives where they they look, they seem they are almost completely incapacitated and given they’re given just given their freedom. There have been so many, I mean there because of the FreeBritney movement, there’s been so much kind of scrutiny of every single photograph of her that’s taken every paparazzi shot and people realizing she’s been wearing the same sneakers for, like the same pair of sneakers for the last three years. Or same old clothes or has like hair extensions that have clearly grown out like she hasn’t been allowed to go to a hair salon or to get her nails done when her sister and her mother have. And they’re lying to her saying that, oh, everything is closed during the pandemic, but their hair and nails have clearly been done. It’s just so devastating. At any point during your pursuit for the truth have you felt afraid for yourselves because you know you’re playing with some pretty heavy hitters here, like you’re coming up against some massive forces who’ve managed to pull off truly like the the crime of the century?
Tess [00:29:27] Yeah, you know, sort of unsettling because after we released the FreeBritney episode, like Babs said, we didn’t really. We, of course, like, you know, talked to people about how to release the episode safely and things like that. But we really felt that Britney was in danger, I think was the predominant emotion that we felt so it was like, We’ve got to get this out. I guess she’s in this really urgent situation. But then sort of after the fact, I think the reality set in like, Oh shit, we just poked a really big bear. And for a weeks, you know, I’d go to shows in L.A. and be looking over my shoulder, and I’d be wondering if someone was following me to my car and had this sort of like eerie sensation that I was being watched. In another part of that New York Times documentary. The second part that just came out is her security team was surveilling us. They put together like dossiers on us and we’re taking photos of us.
Babs [00:30:16] Yeah, so and you know, it’s it’s continued it’s it’s taken many forms, but yes, it was it was scary. It’s been scary. It’s, you know, I don’t think we had any. We could never have anticipated what we were stepping into when we decided to release that voicemail. I mean, we did it and we’re so glad that. I mean, we’re looking at the end of the actual conservatorship, which is so wild. I never thought I would say that. But yeah, personally, we did not have any clue what we were getting ourselves into, for sure.
Jameela [00:30:50] When one of the things I was wondering about when I was prepping for this interview was when she kind of came out and made, you know, not just one, but a few public statements that kind of insinuated, especially after the documentary came out, that insinuated that she’s not in any kind of situation. It doesn’t represent the truth of her situation. She kind of almost. I don’t mean this. I don’t think she was gaslighting anyone, but she sort of made a denial, I guess, of what everyone’s theories were about her lives. How did you feel when that came out? Did you worry that maybe you had made a mistake and you were wrong? Was that a question you asked yourselves? You know, when you’ve got the woman herself allegedly speaking out on her Instagram?
Babs [00:31:35] Right, all in her captions on her Instagram, so you’re like, is it her? But I mean, yeah, we I think there was a lot of it’s been a rollercoaster, of course. You know, there’s definitely been moments where we what we wanted had to check in and be like, we want to be doing the right thing. We want, we need to. But you know, we talk about this on Toxic every time we’ve hit a wall and say, like, man, maybe we shouldn’t do this anymore or is that her is how she feels? Someone who is close to her, people who didn’t necessarily want to come on mic or come to the forefront would tell us, Trust us. Keep going. You have to keep going. So we had to just take it and realize it. I do think she would talk about how she didn’t like to rewatch those triggering moments, which of course, she wouldn’t want to. So if that was her, I don’t blame her for that at all. You know who does want to relive those moments. So I very much think that she could have been saying that. But we were getting inside information that told us, like, trust us, you’re on the right track. You got to keep going. So we just kept going.
Jameela [00:32:35] Oh my goodness. I’m really glad that you did. Because there, but that I mean now to hear her kind of acknowledge the fans and the movement and something that, you know, you guys have been the biggest part of starting, at least in spearheading with the support of millions and millions of Britney fans around the world. I just really think it’s incredible what you’ve done, and I can’t imagine how creepy it must be to poke that bear, especially knowing how inhumane they are, like the treatment of her has been so vile and dehumanizing. And really, I mean, it’s truly the actions of people with no empathy or integrity. And so to know people who are capable of doing that to truly one of the most powerful people in the world she was at the time. I can imagine how scary that must have been for you two.
Tess [00:33:25] Yeah. And I mean, I think that’s another part of why so many people didn’t believe it was real for so long is because it’s too awful.
Jameela [00:33:32] One of the things that this case has done, that the exposure of this case has done for the positive, aside from actually potentially freeing Britney, is that it has shone a light on conservatorships. A lot of a lot of people don’t know what they are and how they work. And I was wondering if you could explain to me a little bit more about how conservatorships work and and what we, the public need to do to reform conservatorships.
Tess [00:34:04] Yeah. So the basic gist of the way a conservatorship works is that you are just the court decides that you are incapacitated. And the standard for that in California, at least, is that you cannot provide shelter or food or basic needs for yourself. Now, when this happens, when the court decides that essentially you cease to be a legal adult. So every right that you have as a legal adult gets transferred to another person and they effectively become you. And so that means they have access to all of your assets. They want to sell your house, they can sell your house if they want to sell. I mean, there are cases where a married couple, one person is conserved and the conservator has disallowed the spouse from being able to see their spouse. They have that much control over your life and all your personal decisions. Yeah. So in California, there are three different types there. There’s one called a limited conservatorship, which is sort of a misnomer because it’s just as restrictive as the other ones. But that one is one that’s implemented a lot of times for people to have developmental disabilities. You know, things like autism or Down syndrome or things like that. Those usually are put in place when a child turns 18. There is like Babs said an LPS conservatorship, which is a mental health conservatorship that’s renewed every year. But those can also, these can all be problematic because they all happen in the court where there’s not enough checks and balances. And then there’s a probate conservatorship, which is intended for people who have things like dementia and things like that and can no longer take care of themselves. Now, the real issue that a lot of people have with conservatorships is that they just blanket take away all of your rights. They don’t look case by case and say, OK, this is someone who probably has the ability to consent in terms of who they want to come over to their house or they want to go to dinner. But maybe they do need someone to help with their finances or OK, maybe they have their money in check, but like, maybe they do need someone to help them remember to take their medication instead of having it be like individually tailored to an individual’s need. They just blanket take away all of your rights. And this essentially creates a catch-22 because once you’ve been determined to be incapacitated, part of that capacity includes things like the ability to hire a lawyer if you’re not an adult, so you can’t hire a lawyer to get you out of this situation. And that is why it becomes a real sort of black hole that people really, really have a very hard time getting out of.
Jameela [00:36:22] And how do you know roughly how many people in the United States or even in just California are in conservatorships? Are these quite common? Are they very, very rare?
Babs [00:36:32] They it’s very, very hard to get the data on it, which is unfortunate. I mean, that’s one of the biggest problems actually that we’ve looked into is that, you know, there’s no comprehensive place where all this data is getting put. So they estimate that there is more than one million people in them in the U.S. and people say that that’s rising. As you know, the baby boomers get older and become more vulnerable and things like that. So there’s no hard numbers, but you know, they have a form of conservatorship or guardianship in every state, and it does seem like they’re getting worse. The problem also is that this creates an opportunity for people to step in and take financial, you know, advantage of someone because it becomes it’s a job. You can have a job as a professional conservator, which means that you can step into someone’s life who you don’t know and take over all their finances, et cetera. So there have been a lot of people who have gotten, you know, taken advantage of in this way, and then they try to complain about the conservator to this bureau. And, you know, over they get hundreds and hundreds of complaints and they have never, ever looked into one of they’ve never turned over any of these conservatorships once after hundreds of complaints.
Jameela [00:37:45] How is that possible?
Babs [00:37:48] I think it’s there’s no resources, you know, there’s there’s so many cases, are so many people. It seems like there’s very little oversight or people who’ve been paying attention to this basically.
Jameela [00:37:59] It’s just enablism, isn’t it? It’s just cheap to enable ism. It’s just like, well, they sound like they’re a bit of a burden on society. So let’s just throw them all. Let’s just throw them away, throw away their rights.
Tess [00:38:10] A thousand percent.
Jameela [00:38:11] Like, it’s a complete inability to look at disability with anything other than like a blanket discrimination, just un fucking believable. And in the last year, I’ve seen more people come out and speak out about abusive conservatorships than I’ve ever seen before. People who probably felt too afraid to even speak about who thought they’d never be believed because it’s so easy in such an ablist society to gaslight a person who is vulnerable in any way we’re so prone.
Tess [00:38:40] It’s chilling when you think about this happening to someone like Britney because it’s like, My God, think of someone who doesn’t have even, you know, a fraction of the resources that she has. Think of how voiceless that person is. And you know, another huge problem with this situation is because, again, you’re unable to choose your own attorney. California, we should mention just change the law because of the FreeBritney movement. So they actually passed a new bill the governor signed into law that conservatees do have the right now to choose their own lawyer.
Jameela [00:39:05] That’s fucking amazing. How did you feel when that got written into law?
Tess [00:39:08] That was really cool. That was really gratifying. But but when you can’t choose your own attorney, you’re really fucked because that’s the person that should be taking your grievances to the court and advocating for you.
Jameela [00:39:21] When their choosing a fucking attorney? Yeah, exactly. They’re choosing an attorney for her. Who’s who none of her attorneys ever told her that she had the right to submit an appeal. That blows my mind, and she was stopped, probably from having having even the access to the internet.
Tess [00:39:36] Yes.
Babs [00:39:37] No. I mean, she had one guy who met her for 15 minutes and then helped tell the judge that she didn’t have the capacity to hire any other lawyer. And he’s the guy who made money off of her for 13 years. He made up to $10000 a week. So he had no financial incentive to say, Hey, hire someone else. You know, why would he say that?
Jameela [00:39:57] Oh, my goodness. Oh my goodness. So where do we go now with conservatorships? Because clearly, I mean, it’s so great. That’s such an amazing first step that people are allowed to finally hire their own lawyer. But what else do we need to work on pushing for reform? Because this is something that I now feel extremely passionate about. I think so to a lot of people, because we didn’t know that so many people were being essentially held hostage, held prisoner. And I mean, you’ve got someone like Britney who is kind of from the way that she describes it, she’s being forced into a kind of slavery where she’s not given the money and from the work that she has done, she’s on this incredibly low salary and yet she’s working and pulling in all these millions and everyone’s profiting off of her. And even when she doesn’t want to work, when she says she doesn’t want to work, she doesn’t feel well, she doesn’t feel right, and they’re forcing her to go to work and blackmailing her. If she doesn’t do all of the work that, I mean, she sounded, it sounded like she was exhausted and like unable to spend enough time with her kids, etc. They’re forcing her to work. That qualifies, to me, is slavery.
Tess [00:41:02] It’s kind of the definition of it, right? I mean.
Jameela [00:41:04] Yeah, yeah. So exploited. So, that could be happening to people all over the world right now. I mean, can we put an I don’t know. I understand conservatorships for people who have dementia who are in their 90s, who are vulnerable, who may not be safe to leave the house, et cetera, or people who may be put there because they’re vulnerable are potentially likely to encounter people who want to take advantage of them. I can understand being a family member who wants to try to protect their other family member, but fucking hell, but we have to like we have to create a more nuanced system of who can be in this conservatorship, correct? What other things do we need to reform?
Babs [00:41:47] That’s the ideal.
Tess [00:41:48] So would the ACLU advocates for and what a lot of disability rights advocate for is something called supportive decision making. And that means that if a disabled person, like we said, has something that they do need help with, they designate a person who helps them make medical decisions, financial decisions, things like that. But that person isn’t. It doesn’t go through the probate court system, so the person doesn’t actually have any legal binding. They’ve just been appointed to help them out with stuff like that, and it gives the disabled person a lot more autonomy over their own life.
Jameela [00:42:14] So this is a person who’s a professional or a can this be a member of their family?
Tess [00:42:18] It’s generally a member of their family or a friend or someone like that, and the person chooses them. So, you know, they work with their doctor and with whoever is in their life, and they all come up with whoever that team is
Jameela [00:42:28] and what if and I’m not like, please don’t take this as me just being on the side of conservatorships, I’m not. But what if you have someone who is not capacitated enough to make the right decision of who that or who doesn’t want to take the advice of the person who’s maybe advising them not to do a dangerous or cumbersome thing in those scenarios? What do we what do we do? What do we suggest?
Tess [00:42:52] I mean that there are situations where I think you do. I mean, for example, if someone’s in a coma, you have to have a power of attorney because somebody has to be there to make those calls, right? So there are really severe situations where you do need to have legal systems in place, but it should be used like is extremely sparingly as like an extreme last resort. And so I think, yeah, it just seems to be the shift in terms of like that shouldn’t be the go to it should be like you’ve exhausted. What the ACLU recommends is that you show that you’ve exhausted all of the other alternatives before you go into a conservatorship.
Jameela [00:43:21] Yeah, never mind be able to sign up for a conservatorship and not even put it in the correct full paperwork.
Babs [00:43:29] Right not have the actual paper that gets you into conservatorship.
Jameela [00:43:32] Are all the judges going to be investigated like, is everyone? What is this going to lead to? Do you think that’s why so many people have resisted up until now, because the amount of powerful people who are going to go down?
Tess [00:43:43] I do think that yeah.
Jameela [00:43:44] If this is successful.
Tess [00:43:45] Yeah, I think a lot of people have been really complicit in the situation and I think a lot of people have blood on their hands. It wasn’t just Jamie Spears. A lot of people look the other way and knew what was going on and protected each other, because that was another thing that was so upsetting about Britney’s testimony in June of this year is it wasn’t the first time she said those things to a judge. Nothing. I mean, it wasn’t that she was saying
Jameela [00:44:08] It was two years before, right? She said a lot of these things and she’d just been sort of just disregarded.
Tess [00:44:13] Yeah. So I think that speaks to just the importance of public pressure.
Jameela [00:44:17] Which so few people are able to gather because they’re not the most famous woman of their generation.
Tess [00:44:22] Exactly, exactly. Yeah. And so from a legal standpoint, I think the one really great thing people can do is this is kind of a state issue. The federal government doesn’t really handle conservatorships in this country. So like contact your state legislator and talk to them about conservatorship reform, there’s a lot of model legislation that would model what happened in California, where conservatees would have the right to choose their own attorney, things like they want to build into the law that a conservatee always has the right to choose who visits them.
Jameela [00:44:49] Also, some of the surveillance shit sounds so illegal.
Tess [00:44:52] Yeah, it is.
Jameela [00:44:53] You shouldn’t be allowed to record someone without their knowledge to be able to monitor their phone.
Tess [00:45:00] No, I mean, it’s illegal in California to record someone without their consent period.
Jameela [00:45:05] So was that illegal what they did?
Tess [00:45:08] It’s an interesting question. I’ve seen people say that it is. And you know, Britney’s new attorney, Matthew Rosenker, has said that he will be deposing people. Britney has said that she wants to see consequences for what happened to her, so I really wouldn’t be surprised once she’s emancipated if the next thing we see is repercussions for all these people.
Jameela [00:45:25] Man, I was so worried that something bad was going to happen to her because she was speaking out about this and because there was so much to lose for everyone. I’m so happy to see that she’s still safe. And actually, when we do see her on Instagram, she seems like happy, increasingly happy and free and loving all the different filters. Each picture in seven different, seven different filters it’s so fucking it feels like.
Babs [00:45:46] That’s a classic. That’s an Instagram classic.
Jameela [00:45:47] It’s such a classic. It also kind of feels like, and I don’t mean this in any kind of patronizing way, but it feels like such an arrested development. She’s had a whole childhood taken away from her, her whole teen years, her 20 years and almost all of her 30s. And so it feels like she’s at where we were at with social media 10 years ago. Like, she’s just finally, it’s like castaway or something. She’s been trapped on this desert island, and now she’s rejoining society finally with autonomy and just kind of figuring everything out as she goes along. You know, I was looking back at my old Facebook account from 2008, and I would do the multiple different filters of each photo just because I wanted everyone to see what it would look like in each different filter. It’s extremely endearing. I I hope she never comes back to work, and I know that’s probably a sad thing for Britney fans to hear, but I feel like that’s the general consensus from all of us. So she’s given us enough.
Babs [00:46:40] Oh, a thousand percent. I mean, it’s totally up to her. Obviously, we’re not going to say no if she ever wants to do her own Lemonade or something about what she’s been through. But it is like
Jameela [00:46:50] That would be the album of the fucking century.
Babs [00:46:53] We can all dream about that. But that is, yeah, it’s like, just do whatever you want to do for the first time in, you know, over a decade.
Jameela [00:47:08] How do we the fans mobilize, I talk a lot about this on this podcast, like what our job is with media, you know, it’s supply and demand. How do we, the fans stop the media from hounding her? Is part of that just not engaging if we see any pictures of her not quite retweeting them, not circulating them, even though it’s like, Oh, she’s safe, she’s on holiday. She’s happy, she looks great. Do not engage with any photographs you see of her because the more you do, the more you give the algorithmic privilege and like attention energy to the publication or to the paparazzi, you are incentivizing them, even if you’re complaining about the photograph. By reposting it, by sharing it. You are circulating it and kind of in your own accidental way, endorsing those photographs being taken because it doesn’t matter whether the attention is positive or negative for the media. All they care about is traffic.
Tess [00:48:06] Exactly. And yeah, I mean, I think that’s one of the most meaningful things that we can do. I mean, that’s something that Babs and I are very militant about. We don’t share paparazzi photos on any of our social media or anything like that. Don’t click on it because I think that that’s the thing we need to do is cut off that demand. And it’s tempting, of course, we all want to see, of course, we all have this curious side of us that, like our monkey brain wants to click on those photos. But I think the more we can train ourselves to not engage with that content, hopefully the less incentive there will be to make that content.
Jameela [00:48:37] And what else can we do to protect her now? Is there is there law that we is there law that we pursue? You know, do I start a petition for about paparazzi, like how how can I help, how can we help? How can we can we still need so much reform and paparazzi law like the access they have to people, the fact that they use drones to shoot into people’s houses and in through their windows and catch them in their own homes and the waiting on their private property and the harassment and jumping in front of their cars. All this shit is still happening. They’re still even leaking pictures of people’s kids when those people have specifically asked for their children’s photographs and not be shown publicly.
Tess [00:49:19] Yeah, I mean, I think just like it’s illegal to record someone’s voice without consent, it should be illegal to take a photograph of someone without their consent.
Babs [00:49:27] I agree. I mean, that’s a, you know, obviously there would be a lot to get done, but I think that’s yeah, if we can make that happen, somehow, I do think, you know, hey, if you’re out and about, you see Britney Spears walking down the street. Don’t take a picture of her. Don’t try to get a selfie with her. I think hopefully we can try to let her live as normal of a life as she possibly may be can. It’s going to be not, you know, truly possible. But if the public can at least try not engage in that, if they see her around, that would be helpful. But you know, on the other end of it, you know, there is other people who can be helped from this situation as far as conservatorships. You know, your own family members. I would just, you know, try to make sure that you are getting trust set up for their money, and that’s supposed to be something to prevent someone from getting into conservatorship. Britney had a trust, so she should not have gotten into a conservatorship.
Jameela [00:50:18] Wait what do you mean? I still don’t know what you mean, sorry I don’t know anything about trusts.
Tess [00:50:21] No. OK, I know we learned way too much about probate law in the story.
Jameela [00:50:25] I think I heard you describe yourselves as like Legally Blonde. You know, the way you acquired all of this information. I think it’s fucking brilliant and I don’t know anything about this stuff. And so I’m so grateful to learn about it from you. You’ve opened my eyes so much, just even in the last hour. So talk to me about trusts, so maybe I need to get one of these.
Tess [00:50:45] You do. Probably seriously though. Yeah. So basically, it’s an estate planning tool and you put, you know, your assets into that and you designate someone, Hey, if I die or if I become very ill, this is the person that I want to control this trust. You designate who
Jameela [00:50:59] Mine have been Keanu Reeves. I’ve never met him, but I just trust him.
Tess [00:51:02] I agree. I mean, thousand percent.
Jameela [00:51:07] We’re all choosing Keanu. Sorry to my boyfriend.
Tess [00:51:13] Britney’s would probably be Brad Pitt. That’s her longtime crush. But um, but so you and so that is supposed to prevent you from ending up in probate court because you’ve already got a system in place. Your money shouldn’t really be in jeopardy if something happens to you mentally because you’ve already said, Hey, this is the person that I want to be in control of my estate. Now, Britney had that set up and they completely disregarded that and conserved her anyway, so that’s yet another
Jameela [00:51:37] Who had she chosen, who had she chosen?
Tess [00:51:38] We don’t know, because that’s sealed, but this is kind of something fishy that happened. Her younger sister came on board. So another kind of crazy thing about that trust is there is much more secrecy available on a trust. So it looks like they kept the bulk of Britney as an asset in that trust. And then the conservatorship and whoever else, they kind of did whatever they needed to do in that trust. So the court really didn’t see what was going on with, like the bulk of her money.
Jameela [00:52:01] (gasp).
Tess [00:52:02] Yeah.
Jameela [00:52:03] And her sister did what?
Tess [00:52:04] Her sister came on board as trustee of that trust in twenty eighteen.
Jameela [00:52:11] I feel like we’re just going to learn more and more about her fucking sister.
Tess [00:52:14] Mm hmm.
Jameela [00:52:16] Her rage, like Britney’s rage towards her sister that keeps spilling out on Instagram, it just feels like so much is coming. I mean, how regarding just to get back to Britney for a second? As I have you both here. How where are we at now? Like, how far are we from freeing Britney?
Babs [00:52:34] Her attorney said, You know, in the last hearing, he he once they got basically, you know, Jamie was out, they said, We want to set the date for November 12th for an independent hearing that is just about terminating the conservatorship. And so I do not think her attorney would have said that so fervently if he didn’t know he could make it happen because he knows the fans are, you know, ready for it. So he yeah, and there’s no one there now to oppose it anymore. Jamie’s huge team of lawyers is not there anymore to oppose it. So it really does seem like she could actually be out on November 12th.
Tess [00:53:08] So basically what happened was there was a hearing when was that Babs? End of September, and so it was sort of a weird thing that was happening legally. But basically, Jamie’s team was saying, Hey, let’s end this today, Britney wants out. They did this total about-face because if the judge had ended the conservatorship on that date in the end of September, then they wouldn’t have to turn over the books and all the financial information and all the transactions between themselves and the other lawyers. They would just be like case closed.
Jameela [00:53:34] Why?
Tess [00:53:34] Because a conservatorship would be done. But but what about Britney’s lawyer did is say, Hey, I don’t want it, I don’t want to terminate it today. Let’s terminate it two months from now. In the interim, I want to appoint this financial conservator because that guy is now going to be able to go in and do all the forensics, get all the books, get all the accounting. Now that they have that information, they can end the conservatorship and then Britney can pursue whatever legal action she needs to pursue against these people.
Jameela [00:54:01] Holy shit. And then talk to me about how. There is this woman whose privacy has been invaded since she was like 10, really, but really like properly since she was 16, we are all learning so much about the privatest moments of her life. I believe that that is what feeds the public furor that is pushing the judges to have to finally make the right decision and take us seriously. So I think that there is a benefit for it. But is there any like gray area of ick about the fact that the whole world is learning about so much of the most vulnerable parts of her life?
Babs [00:54:44] I unfortunately, yeah, I mean, it does feel like you don’t want her to have to tell the world about the horrible things she’s been through, just for anyone to care about it. I wish that that wasn’t how it happened, you know, but it was. And yeah, it’s like, I hope our appetite for Britney and what’s going on in her life goes away as a public. But I don’t see that happening. Unfortunately, hopefully it will.
Jameela [00:55:10] No and I do want justice to be served, and I think she wants justice to be served. And the fact that she’s using her Instagram publicly shows us that she does want everyone to know what happened and what was done. That makes me feel less icky about it. I just hearing her have to talk about her contraception, talk about all these things, like in a pleading case. It was also so interesting to hear her voice, how different her voice sounded, you know, on her Instagram. She speaks so differently or in any kind of like promo, even on American Idol, she speaks so differently. And yet there was like a depth and a gravity to her voice, and she sounded so emotionally sober as well as literally sober. You know, she was speaking a little bit fast but outside of that she’s incredibly articulate, incredibly passionate. She sounded grown. You know, there was like a little girl voice and act to her that was she was probably told to do or encouraged to do to kind of be like, I’m just harmless, harmless, like Britney next door. And I felt like I heard the woman in Britney for the first time in a long time.
Tess [00:56:14] It reminded me actually kind of of like 2006 2007 Britney, who was very just irreverent and unapologetic and unapologetic exactly as like, Oh my god, she’s still there like it was. It brought tears to my eyes hearing it.
Jameela [00:56:29] Yeah, I felt I felt very, very reassured and very emotional when I heard when I heard that side of her again because it made me feel like they haven’t taken everything away from her. They’ve taken away her freedom. They’ve taken away so many of her rights, so much of her time. Her kids have been taken away from her more than she wanted them to be. But she’s still somehow in there. What a fucking icon, man. One thing I would love to ask you just before you go, will you tell me any advice you have for anyone out there who feels inexperienced, who wants to advocate for someone?
Tess [00:57:09] Yes. Just always think of what can you do? There’s always something you can do, whether it’s emailing someone or tweeting something, or maybe you can create calling someone. There’s always something you can do. So instead of getting overwhelmed by the million things that need to be done, just break it down to actionable items and just do it.
Jameela [00:57:28] Yeah, and there’s there’s safety and power in numbers. It was a lot of people who took what you started and carried it all the way through. So finding as much help for the things that you can’t do on your own.
Babs [00:57:41] Yes, finding that community, that’s what I will say is like this. Like I said, we, you know, we’re part of this, but this is the effort of, you know, thousands millions of people putting putting themselves behind Britney Spears, supporting her, digging around for the facts. You know, this is a group effort, so I don’t think we’d be here without all this, you know, amazing support.
Jameela [00:58:05] What are you going to do when she gets freed, guys? Like, what’s going to happen? Like, How are you going to celebrate? Have you planned it?
Babs [00:58:09] We’re having a dance party.
Tess [00:58:11] Yeah, we’re throwing a dance party. You’re invited.
Jameela [00:58:12] Wait is it? Can I come?
Tess [00:58:14] Yes. The whole place is going to be the whole free Britney movement like we’re putting in flowers everywhere.
Babs [00:58:21] Yeah, she her rallies is November, you know, November 12th. So yeah, we’re going to have a dance party afterwards and and celebrate.
Jameela [00:58:31] Oh my god. Well, maybe I’ll see you there. Thank you so much for coming on this podcast today. Thank you for all of the work you’ve done. Thank you for being amazing examples of the fact that you don’t have to be an expert in something to just jump in and help and to be scrappy and to learn on the job and to be willing to make mistakes or poke the fuckin hornet’s nest and and take such a big risk for someone who you don’t know who you don’t know if you’ll ever even meet whoever really acknowledge you personally. You did it from a place of just love for a woman who was being taken advantage of. You’re amazing people.
Babs [00:59:06] Thank you.
Jameela [00:59:06] This is this is scary and time consuming and so many eyeballs on you. So much pressure, so much feeling of responsibility, and the fact that it was two comedians who did it rather than two like, you know, I don’t know, Harvard lawyers or whatever makes this so much more magical, so much more relatable and I hope empowers everyone listening to this now and everyone who listens to all of your work to realize that that any one of us, you know, I’ve got no schooling. I mean, I’m not trained as an actor. Any of these things, ordinary people quote unquote, are capable of extraordinary things, and you are both so extraordinary, your great fucking feminists. I’m honestly so honored to get to meet you and have you on my podcast. Thanks for teaching me about conservatorships. Thanks for teaching the world about caring for one another and fighting for the truth. And yeah, you’re fucking great, and I really hope you get to meet her. I’m sorry. I know I got emo on you, but it is just so I’m so I’m so moved by your work and by what is to come. I can’t believe how fast everything’s unraveling. I really hope you get to meet her. If she wants that and I’m sure she would, I’m sure she’d be fucking fascinated to sit down with both of you.
Babs [01:00:26] We’ll go we’ll go hang out and spin in the living room together.
Tess [01:00:32] I’ll bring the Starbucks.
Babs [01:00:34] We could be the back up.
Jameela [01:00:35] Oh, that would be the yeah, that would be. I think that idea would break the fucking internet. Oh my God. Both of you in her gym spinning behind her, all in the crop top and lower riding hot pants. It would be fucking iconic.
Babs [01:00:48] We’d probably have to redo her her first Instagram post that we talked about with the Mozart painting we’d have to do because it kind of turns her and reveals the paintings would have to be us on the other side. And she’s painting us. That’s our there we go.
Jameela [01:01:01] That would great. May you. Yeah, may you continue to prosper in your journeys, thank you so much for coming. I’m I’m in awe. I’m really fuckin in awe.
Tess [01:01:13] Thank you so much. This was so wonderful.
Jameela [01:01:15] One last thing. Can you each tell me, what do you weigh starting with Tess?
Tess [01:01:22] Let’s see, I weigh all of the projects that I make and my husband and my two mini piles of books.
Jameela [01:01:29] Lovely and Babs?
Babs [01:01:32] I weigh my boyfriend and my course family and friends and doing really silly, ridiculous comedy that just makes me very happy.
Jameela [01:01:43] Well, I think we’re both going to have amazing futures and careers. You deserve all of the good juju in all of the world. I hope we get to see each other soon in the best possible circumstances.
Tess [01:01:55] Same. Thank you so much for having us.
Jameela [01:01:57] Thanks for coming. Thank you so much for listening to this week’s episode. I Weigh with Jameela Jamil is produced and researched by myself, Jameela Jamil, Erin Finnigan and Kimmie Gregory. It is edited by Andrew Carson, and the beautiful music you’re hearing now is made by my boyfriend, James Blake. If you haven’t already, please rate review and subscribe to the show. It’s a great way to show your support. We also have a bonus series exclusively on Stitcher Premium called Ask Jameela Anything. Check it out. You can get a free month of Stitcher Premium by going Stitcher.com/premium and using the promo code, I Weigh. Lastly, over at I Weigh, we would love to hear from you and share what you weigh at the end of this podcast. You can leave us a voicemail at 1-818-660-5543 or email us what you weigh at IWeighPodcast@gmail.com. And now we would love to pass the mic to one of our fabulous listeners.
Listener [01:02:52] I weigh the amount of love and care I have for the people around me. I weigh my passion for wanting to help people with their mental health and their body image. Thanks so much, love you guys.
September 21, 2023
Jameela is joined by campaigner and writer Gina Martin, and in this optimistic conversation about creating change for equal rights around the world, they discuss how anyone can show up and support activism (especially offline in real spaces) and what this activism work can look like.