Britney Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, hired a security company that monitored her digital communications and secretly captured audio recordings of her bedroom, according to a New York Times documentary released Friday.
The more than 180-hour-long audio allegedly recorded the conversations the pop star had with her boyfriend and children, said Alex Vlasov, a former Black Box company employee who spoke to the Times for its “New York Times Presents “. on Hulu.
“Just because you’re in control doesn’t give you the right to treat people like property,” Vlasov said on the hour-long show. “It didn’t feel like she was being treated like a human being.” At another point, he told the Times that he felt the security team surrounding Britney Spears was like a “prison.”
The singer told a court investigator in 2016 that she couldn’t even make friends with people, “especially men,” unless they were approved by her father, according to a copy of the report obtained by The New York Times.
“There was an obsession with men in Britney’s life,” Vlasov said in the documentary.
While her father’s level of control over her life has drawn strong scrutiny, details about the inner workings of Spears’s guardianship have been kept under wraps. The legal settlement was put in place in 2008 out of concern for the star’s mental health and gave her conservatives, including her father, final approval on where she could go, what she could buy, what medical treatments she received, among other personal freedoms. .
Security even handed over the singer’s medication, according to Vlasov.
It’s unclear how many of the security measures were approved by the Los Angeles Superior Court over the past 13 years.
Vlasov started at Black Box as a personal assistant to its founder, Edan Yemini, whose company website says he was trained in the Israel Defense Forces. Among his regular tasks, Vlasov said, he was allegedly asked to encrypt Spears’ messages that were mirrored on an iPad connected to his iCloud account so that Yemini could give them to Jamie Spears and Robin Greenhill, an executive at Tri Star Sports & Entertainment. which helped manage the singer’s career.
“Edan said, ‘She is like a child, like any minor, who needs her parents’ consent,'” Vlasov said.
He said in the documentary that he felt ethically conflicted about the job and confident in his decision to speak publicly.
At one point in her employment in 2016, Vlasov said Yemini handed her a USB drive with audio recordings from Britney Spears’ bedroom and asked her to delete the contents.
“I asked them to tell me what was in it,” Vlasov said in the documentary. “They seemed very nervous and said that it was extremely sensitive, that no one can ever know it and that is why I need to erase everything in it, so that there is no record left.”
He continued: “That raised so many red flags with me and I didn’t want to be complicit in whatever they were involved in, so I kept a copy, because I don’t want to erase the evidence.”
A former costume manager, Tish Yates, alleged that it was Greenhill whom she saw exert alarming control over the singer. Greenhill was the one who came up with the plan to mirror Spears’ texts and photos on the iPad, according to Vlasov.
“Britney was like, ‘Hey, is there a way we can have sushi for dinner?’” Yates recalls. “And I would hear Robin say, ‘You had sushi yesterday. It is very expensive. You don’t need it again. ‘ If she pushed back a little, they pushed harder. “
Access to Spears’ children, two boys, was used to intimidate her into following the instructions of her guardians.
At one point on the 2009 “Circus” tour, Spears felt “distraught,” Yates said, because she moved through a cloud of marijuana smoke as she approached the stage and was afraid she would not pass a drug test and, therefore, it was not allowed. to see the boys.
“The level of fear that I had was really eye-opening,” Yates said.
Spears’ former assistant and confidante, Felicia Culotta, also said in the documentary that Greenhill helped get her out of the singer’s life.
Spears drew attention to her situation earlier this year when she spoke at a court hearing to make shocking allegations about guardianship, calling it “abusive.”
The court finally allowed Spears to hire her own attorney in July. Earlier this month, after months of criticism and increased scrutiny, his father’s attorneys filed a surprise motion to dissolve the guardianship entirely.
Greenhill and attorneys for Jamie Spears did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s requests for comment.
In a statement to the Times, Yemini said through his attorney: “Mr. Yemini and Black Box have always conducted themselves within professional, ethical and legal limits and are particularly proud of their work to keep Ms. Spears safe for many years. “
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