The sixth installment of the New York Times Presents: Framing Britney docuseries was released this month on FX and Hulu. Britney Spears’ fans from multiple generations have re-found their obsession with the pop superstar. The special explores the rise to fame the pop star had since childhood. The star’s rise and highly public downfall are displayed.
An overall theme to the special was Spears’ conservatorship. The documentary highlighted how her father and ex-boyfriends took advantage of her fame, money, and connections. It dove into the “Free Britney” movement, in which fans are protesting. As loyal fans, they are pleading for Spears to gain back her freedom. Fans have connected online and physically linked up to protest in major cities and outside court hearings. Paparazzi, former managers, and superfans of Spears gave interviews, but Spears and her inner circle have declined to speak.
In addition, the docuseries raises a conversation about how magazines and some media treated Britney Spears. Many fans started to make comparisons to the treatment of other women like Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, and Amanda Bynes.
Another big discussion was the misogyny of Justin Timberlake, who villanized Spears after their publicized breakup and spoke vulgarly about their intimate relationship. Timberlake was also criticized for exposing Janet Jackson at the 2004 Superbowl Halftime show, which has damaged her career opportunities and reputation.
Since the release of the docuseries, Timberlake apologized for his past actions. He addressed all of the online concern in an Instagram text post, saying he has read the comments and tags and is sorry for the actions of his past. Despite over 700,000 likes, many people are speculating that this was to maintain a positive public image.
Timberlake stated the following in part of his Instagram post apologizing to Spears.
“I specifically want to apologize to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually, because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed. I also feel compelled to respond, in part, because everyone involved deserves better and most importantly because this is a larger conversation that I wholeheartedly want to be part of and grow from. The industry is flawed. It sets men, especially white men, up for success. It’s designed this way. As a man in a privileged position, I have to be vocal about this. Because of my ignorance, I didn’t recognize it for all that it was while it was happening in my own life but I do not want to ever benefit from others being pulled down again.”