How Britney Spears Is Being Exploited By Matt Gaetz, QAnon

Earlier this week, amidst the throngs of Britney Spears followers gathered outdoors a Los Angeles courthouse to protest the singer’s conservatorship case, a newcomer arrived on the rally, sporting glasses and a navy blue go well with. The newcomer was Rep. Matt Gaetz, the right-wing congressman at present below investigation for allegations of intercourse trafficking and having intercourse with a minor. “There have been grifters on this course of that attempted to behave like they spoke for Britney,” an impassioned Gaetz stated to cheers from the group, “that they knew what she wished. Effectively, now the entire world is aware of what Britney Spears needs, and it’s the freedom and liberty that ought to be provided to each single American.” Gaetz then referred to as Jamie Spears, Britney’s father, a “dick” to wild cheers earlier than calling out Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Jerry Nadler for failing to “be part of our bipartisan effort to create a federal reason behind motion for people who find themselves constrained of their liberty via guardianship and conservatorship.”

Regardless of his heat reception on the rally, many on social media following the #FreeBritney motion had been puzzled by Gaetz’s presence, accusing him of making an attempt to hijack the motion to distract from his personal authorized struggles; many additionally pointed out the irony of Gaetz being accused of trafficking and publicly advocating for the rights of a weak girl.

However the #FreeBritney motion has additionally extra broadly served as a speaking level inside the mainstream GOP. On Wednesday, Forbes reported that the Nationwide Republican Congressional Committee has been using Spears’ case as part of its text message fundraising efforts, referring to her in texts to donors as “a sufferer of poisonous gov’t overreach & censorship”; Gaetz and different Republicans, together with QAnon supporter Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, have additionally issued a proper invite to Spears to testify earlier than Congress about her conservatorship struggles. And within far-right circles on the web, the #FreeBritney case has been a flashpoint of dialogue, largely because of the points it raises of sovereignty and bodily autonomy.

On Instagram, far-right influencers and promoters of the anti-trafficking #SaveTheChildren marketing campaign have been posting about Spears for weeks. Certainly, one of many high posts below the #FreeBritney hashtag on Instagram is a meme posted on the web page for the Free Thought Mission, a conspiracy idea account with 367,000 followers. “If Britney’s father’s conservatorship upsets you, simply wait till you notice you might be in a conservatorship with authorities,” the publish, which has 12,481 likes, says.

Plenty of anti-vaccine accounts on Instagram have additionally shared content material evaluating Spears’s tearful testimony that she was pressured by her father and handlers to have an IUD, to being pressured to take a COVID vaccine. “You might be no completely different than the individuals forcing Britney Spears to have an IUD and take the treatment she doesn’t need to when you really feel everybody ought to get vaccinated even when they don’t need to,” reads the textual content for one viral tweet, which has been screengrabbed and shared extensively on Instagram.

On Thursday, Vice reported that QAnon influencer Liz Crokin had began a Telegram group referred to as #FreeBritney tying Spears’s case to the “epidemic” of rampant youngster intercourse trafficking in Hollywood, a standard speaking level amongst adherents of the conspiracy idea. “Britney Spears is a trafficking sufferer, interval. My work has primarily centered on exposing trafficking particularly in Hollywood for actually the previous 5 years. The state of affairs with Britney ties on to Pizzagate, and the publicity of what occurred to her can doubtlessly result in the larger publicity of the epidemic of trafficking of stars in Hollywood,” Crokin wrote in her group, which has about 3,000 followers.

A outstanding QAnon Telegram group with greater than 100,000 members has been repeatedly posting in regards to the case, referring to Spears, 39, as a trafficking sufferer and accusing the mainstream media of overlaying up her ongoing abuse (even though the media has been reporting nonstop on Spears’s conservatorship case for years). “Selecting a deadbeat puppet in her father to drive her into full-blown human slavery, whereas elite Deep State handlers pocket her earnings, is disgusting past phrases and deserves as a lot of a highlight as youngster intercourse trafficking via the Southern Border,” Joe M., a QAnon influencer, wrote in a single publish.

Given the widespread help for the #FreeBritney motion, it is smart why individuals on the far right can be drawn to the case, says Mike Rothschild, creator of the QAnon e book The Storm Is Upon Us. “For Gaetz and MTG to indicate up at #FreeBritney rallies is solely about publicity, in my view at the least,” he tells Rolling Stone. However extra broadly, contemplating the themes of bodily autonomy and sovereignty that underscore the case, “it’s additionally a straightforward means of getting their ‘authorities is unhealthy’ message throughout, and scaring individuals into pondering {that a} tyrannical authorities can do that to anybody.” 

Those that have embraced the QAnon conspiracy idea, in addition to adjoining anti-child trafficking conspiracy theories (such because the #SaveTheChildren motion) which have surfaced over the previous few years, see the #FreeBritney motion as a real-life, concrete instance of Hollywood abusing younger girls and violating their consent. “I’ve seen among the massive Q personalities maintain [Spears] up as an instance of what movie star handlers do to weak minds, which is, in fact, hilarious coming from promoters of a conspiracy idea that exploits weak minds,” Rothschild says. “[Generally] talking, Q and #SaveTheChildren individuals seize on to anybody they will use an instance of the deep state’s evil trafficking rings.” 

After all, what makes this narrative so sticky, notably within the case of the #FreeBritney motion, is the truth that there are parts of fact to it: per her personal tearful account given in court docket final month, Spears has been topic to what look like quite a few human rights violations for years, by the hands of individuals with a vested monetary curiosity in sustaining management over her. And whereas that has rightfully prompted the ire of a lot of her supporters, in addition to drawn consideration to wider points surrounding incapacity rights and conservatorship abuse, it doesn’t make Spears an elite Deep State trafficking sufferer (despite the fact that she herself has used such language to describe her situation), nor does it make her story (the small print of which, it should be famous, the general public is simply semi-privy to) a shining cautionary story in regards to the risks of presidency overreach. Hers is a really unhappy story, but it surely’s not a narrative onto which cynical influencers and politicians of all stripes can mission their very own agendas, even when individuals like Gaetz and Crokin would love it to be so.

Total, the far-right coopting the #FreeBritney motion has some harmful implications, despite the fact that it’s at present occurring at a comparatively small scale. “It undoubtedly may drag extra individuals into the Q mythology, which is all the time a danger when these actions reshape themselves to develop into extra mainstream and fewer lurid,” says Rothschild. “It gained’t be branded as Q, since they’re dropping that branding. However individuals trying to find #FreeBritney stuff who discover anti-vax, anti-government, or anti-Semitic content material may simply get Q-pilled.”


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