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Author Topic: Britney Spears, Brian Wilson, and Conservatorship Issues  (Read 1565 times)
guitarfool2002
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« on: June 29, 2021, 09:00:08 AM »

The issues of conservatorship in California, and in general, have been in the spotlight with the court cases involving Britney Spears trying to sever her legal ties to her father and conservator, along with what she calls the "Team" involving therapists, doctors, assistants, and any number of people under the conservatorship umbrella. I don't usually follow Britney Spears beyond the headlines, I respect her talent and the success she has had although I'm not a fan or follower, but as her cases have been in the headlines and generating a lot of interest and discussion, it's hard to miss.

And as I read more into the case, I couldn't help but see the parallels between Britney's situation and the one Brian Wilson was in with Landy and his "team", especially in the latter half of the 1980's and into the early 90's before Landy was sanctioned and stripped of his license, and Brian was removed from the situation.

It's a sensitive topic all around. But the more that gets revealed about the Britney Spears case, specifically the details of that "Team", issues of money, issues of 24/7 "monitoring" by team members, issues of meds being given in the name of control, issues of a reward versus punishment situation regarding Britney's work, and her overall freedom to do or not do certain things...It all starts to sound similar to the details we've heard from Landy's programs set up for Brian.

When money gets involved, specifically the amounts of money earned and held on the levels of Britney Spears and Brian Wilson, the situation gets even more disturbing when the allegations are made as in the Britney case where she has to work and get paid and various people on the "Team" make money off of her talents and work...and it's justified in the name of protecting her and keeping her healthy.

It all sounds too familiar, and with Britney being a celebrity of the internet and social media age, the reporting on her court cases and conservatorship issues is blown up into that instant news cycle, whereas when Brian's cases involving Landy and conservatorship were in the courts, you basically had newspapers and various entertainment magazine shows to give it a 30 second blurb at 7pm on TV rather than more extensive coverage and shared discussions in the instant news cycles of 2021, along with a pretty devoted base of fans and supporters speaking out.

Even if you're not a fan of Britney Spears, her testimony in the case was recorded and published here:

https://www.npr.org/2021/06/24/1009858617/britney-spears-transcript-court-hearing-conservatorship

It's worth a read. And while reading, see if any of the details Britney described sound familiar for those familiar with the Landy stories, and if all this is going on in the name of "treatment" and literally millions of dollars are being paid if not taken outright as a result, perhaps the crux of the Britney cases is indeed the need to look at the issue of legal conservatorship with a more critical perspective and address some of these issues so it does not continue to happen and the system itself is not abused by quacks and hustlers out to ride celebrity coattails and make money off others' talents and illnesses.

« Last Edit: June 29, 2021, 09:02:24 AM by guitarfool2002 » Logged

"All of us have the privilege of making music that helps and heals - to make music that makes people happier, stronger, and kinder. Don't forget: Music is God's voice." - Brian Wilson
juggler
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2021, 01:37:31 PM »

Yes, it's a sad situation, and there are definite parallels, not only with the Landy era(s) but also a lot that went on with Brian and his family before Landy, as well.  It was/is a hell of a burden on a Brian Wilson or a Britney Spears to be their extended family's "golden goose" -- the source of parents' and siblings' wealth and comfortable lifestyles.

At the same time, when there are legitimate issues of mental illness and substance abuse, it's not so simple as to say, "Let this person do as he or she pleases."  The body count is not insignificant for stars on destructive paths whose families *didn't* successfully intervene (e.g., Amy Winehouse, John Belushi, Chris Farley, Dennis Wilson et al.). 

I suppose that the real "tell" when family/management has crossed the line into exploitation is when the person is being forced/bullied/medicated into working or performing.  If Britney is well enough to be signed up to do a lengthy engagement of Vegas shows, then she's well enough to have a greater degree of control over her life.  Landy was, of course, off the charts in his level of exploitation. I don't think anyone disputes that Brian needed to break his coke and overeating habits of 1982, and if that's all Landy had been interested in doing, it'd be a different story.  But, no, Landy wanted to be Brian's business manager, songwriting partner, Svengali, parent etc.  It was a truly sick situation.
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CAFeelin89
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2021, 06:55:06 PM »

I had the same takeaway when I heard the Britney Spears court testimony. The longer I listened to it, the more I thought she was getting Landy'd by her own dad. It started sounding more and more like what happened to Brian in many ways. There was a part that reminded me of how the Beach Boys had to do one concert every month or so (or something like that) where the profit would solely go to footing the bill for Landy's outrageously money-milking 24/7 treatment. She had a similar situation going on with her performances and money.
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2021, 04:00:30 AM »

I unfortunately witnessed a lot of these issues with Britney first hand when she was doing a few shows across the US a couple of years ago during her Vegas residency period.  I met with her advance "team" and there was to be no coffee, soda or any caffeine anywhere in her suite.  No coffee cups either.  Nothing that would remind her of caffeine could be present.  As soon as she came off stage, her father was there waiting for her and would escort her right to her dressing room and then out along with her security.  But perhaps the thing that stands out the most was when I was meeting with her security prior to her arrival to the hotel.  We were on the walk thru of her suite (which was immense) and we got to the back entry door (where the butler or housekeeping would enter into the butler kitchen area).  The security team asked if that door could be locked.  We were in the kitchen at that point and I showed them that the door indeed had a lock on it so that even if someone found their way into the back of the house, they wouldn't be able to enter the suite without a key.  The security guy then looked at me and said, "No, we want to be able to lock this door from the outside, so it can't be opened from inside".  You do the math on why that request was made.
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juggler
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« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2021, 08:08:06 AM »

Damn, aside from the impingement on her personal freedom, a hotel room locked from the outside is a serious hazard in a fire or other evacuation situation.

And what's the bugaboo about coffee?  If caffeine use/addiction can land you a conservator, a lot of us (including me) should be worried.
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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2021, 08:13:10 AM »

What was sad for me reading through Britney's testimony was the feeling that this kind of "treatment" is allowed to continue, and it would appear is also sanctioned and approved by whatever governing boards of the medical community oversee these things and license doctors. So it would seem both the legal system and the various systems in place in the medical and psychological practices would allow this.

The point that hit me was did they not learn or are they just ignorant of what happened when the doctor-patient relationship was abused in the way it had been with Landy? I'd like to think with a high profile case which is on the record and reported pretty extensively that there would be some notion of "We can't allow this to happen again".

And yet, there was Britney Spears describing her "treatment" which at times sounded exactly like some of the situations Landy had put Brian through. And when money and performance (or creating art) is involved, the potential for abusing the whole setup gets even larger, and you get these so-called responsible guardians, healers, doctors, etc who then take on the "Svengali" role and get a door into the entertainment industry and millions of dollars to be made. Meanwhile the patient - who ultimately is in the situation to be healed and made well, not brainwashed into being a puppet - has to perform and grant interviews and work their ass off so a "Team" can monitor and control them 24/7.

Something is SERIOUSLY wrong if both the medical and legal communities allow professionals to practice like this. And again you'd think lessons would be learned after cases like Landy, but 30 years later we're still reading new testimony about a successful A-list performer who got stuck in what sounds like a system of total domination and control, almost servitude, in the name of "healing".

What saddens me too is this: Under these systems, take Britney or Brian as examples, at what point would a patient be considered "healed" or well enough for the 24/7 multi-faceted full-control therapy and treatment to be dialed down enough to where they can function without being monitored and controlled 24/7? In Britney's case it's been, what, at least a decade or more of this? Brian's treatment neared a decade with Landy part 2 until thankfully the plug was pulled before anything more was done.
 

Unreal.
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"All of us have the privilege of making music that helps and heals - to make music that makes people happier, stronger, and kinder. Don't forget: Music is God's voice." - Brian Wilson
guitarfool2002
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« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2021, 08:24:49 AM »

And just to add, I hated to read how Britney's creative art and passion for her music and dance (and her 'job' for lack of a better term) was used as part of the punishment-reward system under this kind of treatment. When she wanted to change some of the dance routine, they pulled all the dancers into a back room, and sent Britney to her doctor who put her on Lithium because she wasn't being compliant enough with the treatment and plans for her stage show.

Seriously? This is allowed?

That's what reminded me of Landy part 1, when they had a Landy employee holding a baseball bat, standing over Brian at a piano to get him to write songs. And later in Landy part 2, when playing the piano was used as a reward for Brian doing something good and the piano was locked and taken away when he didn't comply so he couldn't play. And the list of similar things could go on and on, sadly.

Another point that sounded familiar was when Britney described the years of giving interviews and red-carpet appearances where she was promoting her shows and had to put on a showbiz smile and say how great she was doing, how happy she is, etc etc etc. I guess if she told the truth she'd get put on Lithium again or some other form of punishment? Reminds me of some of those creepy Landy-Brian interviews from the 80's and 90's where something seemed "off" about the whole thing and everything was roses and rainbows on the surface.

Shameful and tragic.
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"All of us have the privilege of making music that helps and heals - to make music that makes people happier, stronger, and kinder. Don't forget: Music is God's voice." - Brian Wilson
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« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2021, 02:42:09 AM »

When I heard this on the news I also saw immediate parallels to the Brian/Landy situation, was mulling that over, then thought to come to this board.  It seems that when one has talent and money the hangers-on do damage in one of two ways: (1) ignoring the substance abuse or mental health issue to keep one's employment/favors or by (2) controlling the situation artificially by offering help in the form of extreme and prolonged, "therapy" or conservatorship where one benefits financially.  Both of these polarities are abusive and harmful to the person who needs care.

On a personal note, I may have mentioned here before that we have a long-time friend who suffered with mental health issues parallel to Brian's (schizoid-affective, bipolar) and in the same time frame, but our friend had no funds.  He ended up at a state hospital back in the day (terrifying, we were told), then he got out and received no help for twenty years of suffering.  There is a tragic parallel between some of the rich and the poor in that they often do not receive adequate, appropriate care.  Clearly that did not happen to Brian for too long and now, it appears, for Britney Spears.  Lucky for our friend, his wife (our closest friend) stayed with him; he finally got adequate treatment and care and was able to live a normal life. There is help for people who need it, but when we see in the news this abuse of the mentally ill, it keeps more people tentative or afraid to get the help they do need. I agree; something in the system must change.
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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2021, 10:16:43 AM »

And in a new development that I've re-read multiple times and still don't understand, the judge declined a previous request to remove Britney from the current conservatorship under her father's control, but in the same paragraph it states the judge has yet to rule on the specific case where Britney's testimony linked above originated. So why rule and make headlines on a months-old case on the same topic just days after testimony which made headlines? Procedural? Symbolic? I don't understand.

https://variety.com/2021/music/news/britney-spears-conservatorship-request-denied-remove-father-1235009486/

Whatever the case, it stinks. I still cannot fathom a situation - approved, justified, and even endorsed by the legal and medical authorities - where a 39 year old adult woman is deemed fit enough to perform, make red-carpet appearances and do press junkets, and exist to make money for others YET is unable to handle anything of her own and according to testimony, is given powerful psychotropic drugs by licensed professionals when she refuses to comply with things as irrelevant as the choreography in her stage show.

This is the state of mental health care in 2021? It sounds more like indentured servitude where a performer can make millions for her conservator(s) and their "Team" yet has no free will in the situation, and is given powerful mind-altering drugs as a form of punishment yet cannot be around caffeine...and this is all sanctioned and approved. Unreal.

Not to be insensitive, but how much different is it from those Russian bear acts that Ed Sullivan would have on his show who would dance and perform and stand on their hind legs on command, then go right back into the cage, tranquilized, and be shipped to another stage to do the same thing for audiences.

And to repeat again, you'd think some lessons would be learned after details of the Brian-Landy situation were made public, but it seems nothing has been learned. And Britney has been under this "care" and control for 13 years continuous. Imagine if Landy part 2 had lasted another three years...
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"All of us have the privilege of making music that helps and heals - to make music that makes people happier, stronger, and kinder. Don't forget: Music is God's voice." - Brian Wilson
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