Britney Spears' battle against her restrictive conservatorship has been the subject of public discussion and a number of recent documentaries lately. The New York Times Presents: Controlling Britney Spears, which first aired on FX is available to stream on Hulu, highlighted one particularly heartbreaking incident that occurred in 2009, shortly after Spears' conservatorship was put into place. Tour wardrobe head Tish Yates shared a story from Spears' Circus tour that highlighted the state of fear that Spears has lived in for years.
Yates explained that Spears had a panic attack after smelling marijuana backstage, worried that any exposure to drugs would cause her to lose access to her two sons, Sean Preston and Jayden James. "She is distressed. She is upset. She's yelling, 'It smells like pot. It smells like pot. I can't breathe this. I cannot breathe thisis. I will fail a drug test. I won't see my boys'," Yates explained. "And she bolted. She was running trying to get back to her dressing room. She was crying. She was screaming. The level of how she was scared really opened my eyes."
The documentary also included an interview with Alex Vlasov, who claims he worked for Black Box Security, a firm Spears' father and co-conservator, Jamie Spears, hired. Vlasov claimed that the security firm monitored Spears' phone activity and even put a listening device in her bedroom.
In his interview, Vlasov alleged that Spears' conservators kept an eye on Spears' phone use and her activities at home. He shared alleged emails, text messages, and audio recordings he kept from his nine years as an employee for Black Box and its president Edan Yemini. Vlasov claimed that Jamie and others involved in the conservatorship asked him how to put parental controls on her iPhone. They also wanted to sync the iPhone's iCloud with an iPad so they could monitor how Spears used the phone. "It really reminded me of somebody that was in prison," Vlasov told The New York Times. "And security was put in a position to be the prison guards essentially."
Vlasov claimed his boss told him the extreme surveillance operation was needed to protect the "Oops!... I Did it Again" singer, who he was told wanted to be in the conservatorship. He told the Times he was inspired to quit and speak out after Spears' June testimony in court when she claimed the conservatorship was abusive. When the conservatorship was established in 2008, Jamie was given control over Spears' health and estate. In June, Spears was finally allowed to hire her own lawyer and picked Rosengart. On Sept. 7, Jamie surprisingly asked the court to consider terminating the conservatorship. The next court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 29.