Why Is Everyone Hashtagging 'Free Britney'?

Free Britney, Britney Spears, Instagram, Jamie Lynn Spears
Instagram/BritneySpears
Here's everything you need to know about the bizarre conspiracy theory...

If the widespread rumours, concern and drama surrounding the Grammy award-winning star as of late have got you wondering whether we’re seeing a repeat of Britney's 2007 meltdown period, you’re not alone. In case you haven’t been keeping up, here’s everything that’s gone down to get you up to speed.

Several weeks ago, it was reported that the Britney Spears had checked herself into a mental health facility and was receiving 30-day treatment for emotional trauma. After announcing that she would be taking a break from music at the start of this year and cancelling her Las Vegas residency, fans were concerned and speculated about the veracity of the reports, and, if they were indeed true, what was going on with the Toxic singer. People magazine reported that pop princess’s mental health difficulties were in part due to her father’s ongoing health issues.

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We all need to take time for a little "me time." :)

A post shared by Britney Spears (@britneyspears) on

On Monday, protestors flocked to City Hall in Hollywood, waving banners that read “Free Britney” and chanting “Justice for Britney”, suspecting that the popstar is being held against her will at the mental health facility. Some believe that the decision was made by her manager or by her father - since 2008, she has had a conservatorship agreement with the latter, which requires him to approve any personal or financial decision that she makes. The #FreeBritney campaign, which demands her release from the facility, has since gone viral: the hashtag is trending on Twitter and has been used 13,200 times on Instagram. The protest was organised by Britney’s Gram, a fan’s podcast channel where the original allegations were made, which has since been reported to authorities for violating the artist’s privacy.

On Monday night, Britney’s sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, posted an old video on Instagram in response to criticism that she isn’t doing enough, in which she defends Britney from paparazzi hounding her on the street, claiming that fans comment on “what [they] don’t understand”.

The Hit Me Baby One More Time singer broke her silence on Instagram on Tuesday, shutting down the rumours and reassuring fans: “All is well. My family has been going through a lot of stress and anxiety lately, so I just needed time to deal. But don’t worry, I’ll be back very soon.” In the video’s caption she revealed that the speculation surrounding her well-being has caused her and her family to receive death threats. She also accused former manager Sam Lutfi of fabricating emails to appear as though they were sent from her, a claim he later denied on Twitter.

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I wanted to say hi, because things that are being said have just gotten out of control!!! Wow!!! There’s rumors, death threats to my family and my team, and just so many things crazy things being said. I am trying to take a moment for myself, but everything that’s happening is just making it harder for me. Don’t believe everything you read and hear. These fake emails everywhere were crafted by Sam Lutfi years ago... I did not write them. He was pretending to be me and communicating with my team with a fake email address. My situation is unique, but I promise I’m doing what’s best at this moment You may not know this about me, but I am strong, and stand up for what I want! Your love and dedication is amazing, but what I need right now is a little bit of privacy to deal with all the hard things that life is throwing my way. If you could do that, I would be forever grateful. Love you

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She finished with a sweet message to her supporters, thanking them for their devotion whilst also asking them for privacy, “You may not know this about me, but I am strong, and stand up for what I want! Your love and dedication is amazing, but what I need right now is a little bit of privacy to deal with all the hard things that life is throwing my way. If you could do that, I would be forever grateful. Love you.”

If we've learnt anything about the queen of pop, it's that she's Stronger than yesterday. 

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Free Britney, Britney Spears, Instagram, Jamie Lynn Spears
Instagram/BritneySpears