Britney Spears has lost her bid to oust her father, James Spears, as the conservator of her estate—and the singer’s lawyer now says she will not perform as long as he remains in the position because she is afraid of him.
On Tuesday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny declined to suspend Spears, widely known as “Jamie,” from the position he’s held for the past 12 years. But she will consider future petitions for his suspension or removal from the position, according to the Associated Press, and she also granted the singer’s request that the Bessemer Trust, a corporate fiduciary, be named a co-conservator.
The hearing was conducted by phone and videoconference, the Los Angeles Times reports; the singer herself was absent but both of her parents, Jamie and Lynne Spears, were present.
According to the Associated Press, Spears’ attorney Samuel D. Ingham III told the court, “My client has informed me that she is afraid of her father. She will not perform again if her father is in charge of her career.” (Spears has not performed live since 2018.) Her father’s attorney, Vivian Lee Thoreen, meanwhile, maintained that the conservatorship has benefited Spears—and objected to Ingham’s comment on the two’s relationship.
Spears’ conservatorship first began in 2008—at which point tabloids had spent months documenting the singer’s public meltdown as she shaved her head and checked in and out of rehabilitation facilities. More than a decade later, however, fans of the singer have pointed to her ongoing performances and TV appearances as signs that she no longer needs to be held within such constraints.
The threshold for conservatorship approval is typically very high; the court must determine that the person is unable to provide food, clothing, or shelter for themselves. In a court filing this fall, Spears referred to her own conservatorship as “voluntary”—but concerned #FreeBritney fans continue to scrutinize the conditions of the arrangement.
Speaking with the Times, one fan called the Bessemer Trust co-conservator appointment a “big win for Britney.” Spears’ next hearing is set for December 16.