The filmmakers told ET that they've heard 'disturbing' secret recordings of the pop star.
Samantha Stark and Liz Day are speaking out about Britney Spears' conservatorship. Outside of the Los Angeles County Courthouse, where Judge Brenda Penny suspended Britney's father, Jamie Spears, as conservator of her estate, the filmmakers behind FX and Hulu’s Controlling Britney Spears gave ET's Lauren Zima more insight into one of the most shocking claims in their documentary.
In Controlling Britney Spears, which is a follow-up to Framing Britney Spears, Alex Vlasov, a former employee of security firm Black Box, who worked with the singer for nine years, claimed that Britney's conservators bugged her phone and home, monitoring and surveying her usage on the device and life indoors. Alex supported his claims with alleged emails, text messages and audio recordings he had from over the course of his employment.
Recording conversations in a private place without the consent of both parties involved can be a violation of the law. It is unknown if the court that is overseeing the singer's conservatorship was aware or approved the surveillance.
"We have a copy of the recording, which we reviewed to authenticate it and make sure it was real," Liz told ET. "It was really disturbing to listen to. To imagine Britney being recorded secretly in her bedroom, that is just really disturbing... Her interactions with her kids, and her boyfriend, and others were secretly recorded."
Samantha added that she and Liz were "totally shocked" by the claims, telling ET, "You had heard rumors about that for a long time, but to actually see someone come forward with evidence and of things that seemed more extreme than we would imagine, or that the public would imagine, it was a really surprising conversation."
After speaking to Alex, Liz said that she and Samantha "made repeated efforts" to request comment from Jamie and his lawyer, but noted that he "never denied the allegations that they wiretapped Britney’s bedroom."
Jamie's lawyer did, however, provide a statement to The New York Times.
"All of his actions were well within the parameters of the authority conferred upon him by the court," the statement read. "His actions were done with the knowledge and consent of Britney, her court-appointed attorney, and/or the court. Jamie’s record as conservator — and the court’s approval of his actions — speak for themselves."
Following the recording allegations, Mathew Rosengart, Britney's attorney, told ET that the alleged surveillance of the 39-year-old pop star is a "violation of her privacy rights" and an example of "the deprivation of her civil liberties."
"Unauthorized recording or monitoring of Britney’s private communications — especially attorney-client communications, which are a sacrosanct part of the legal system — represent an unconscionable and disgraceful violation of her privacy rights and a striking example of the deprivation of her civil liberties," he said. "Placing a listening device in Britney’s bedroom would be particularly horrifying and corroborates so much of her compelling, poignant testimony. Mr. Spears has crossed unfathomable lines and he must be held accountable."
Shortly thereafter, Britney's lawyer said in court docs obtained by ET that there was "overwhelming evidence mandating the immediate suspension of James P. Spears, by no later than Sept. 29, 2021," including engaging in "horrifying and unconscionable invasions of his adult daughter’s privacy."
During the Sept. 29 court hearing that followed, the judge did suspend Jamie as conservator, appointing Certified Public Accountant John Zabel as the temporary conservator of Britney's estate.
"Britney has been asking for this for a long time," Samantha told ET of the ruling. "We know from the confidential court documents that we obtained [that], from at least 2014, she has been talking about removing her father."
While Jamie's official removal will be decided at a later hearing, Britney's attorney told ET that the 39-year-old pop star is "happy" about the judge's most recent decision, adding that "the goal" is to free her from her conservatorship by her 40th birthday on Dec. 2.
As for Jamie, one day after the ruling, he issued a statement via his attorney, Vivian L. Thoreen, stating in part that "for 13 years, he has tried to do what is in her best interests, whether as a conservator or her father."
Jamie, the statement said, had been "biting his tongue and not responding to all the false, speculative, and unsubstantiated attacks on him by certain members of the public, media, or more recently, Britney’s own attorney."
"Despite the suspension, Mr. Spears will continue to look out for the best interests of his daughter and work in good faith towards a positive resolution of all matters," the statement concluded.
The petition to terminate Britney's conservatorship will be heard on Nov. 12. In the meantime, both Samantha and Liz are committed to continuing to report on Britney's situation.
"The story is far from over, so we're looking for people with firsthand experience and evidence of anything they want to come forward and tell us about," Samantha said. "We'll see what happens."
"I think there's definitely a lot more to report," Liz agreed. "Over the last 13 years a lot happened. A lot of money was made, a lot of people were involved, and we want to investigate everything."