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Fans Are Comparing The Britney Spears Case To This Black Mirror Episode

"... Baby One More Time," "Toxic," and other hit songs from Britney Spears defined a generation for many. Now, a movement has begun where fans aim to help the person who's already given them so much. 

Things have been quiet regarding the singer's career over the last several years, and only recently has the general public learned why. Spears was placed in a conservatorship after a string of controversial public appearances in the 2000s and early 2010s. Essentially, this allowed others to control her finances and professional career, dictating where she could go and what she could do. Despite pleas from Spears to be released from the situation, she continues being trapped. She remains confined to her conservatorship despite saying on a June 2021 court date, "I want my life back."

It's devastating to watch a person who's brought joy to so many become trapped in a complicated legal conundrum. It's inspired the #FreeBritney movement on social media to bring further awareness to her plight, and hopefully, no one else ends up in the same bureaucratic nightmare as her. It's also caused the public to reflect on how we view and treat celebrities going through mental health crises and has people looking back at a particular "Black Mirror" episode that dealt with all of this before #FreeBritney was even a hashtag.

The Black Mirror episode with Ashley O eerily reflects Britney Spears's case

The "Black Mirror" Season 5 episode, "Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too," follows a pop star, Ashley O (Miley Cyrus), who wants to have more control over her career. She's tired of cranking out bland pop songs and would prefer to give the world something darker and more authentic to who she is as a person. Her aunt/manager isn't happy with her defiance, so she drugs Ashley, sending her into a comatose state. The new development allows the aunt to sell a string of robots with Ashley's AI-created personality and utilize holographic technology to have the singer continue to perform live.

The idea of a pop star becoming a commodity without any professional autonomy is a culturally prevalent idea. Even Miley Cyrus herself, who appears in the episode, can likely relate as she got her start as a Disney star with a carefully curated image. However, some fans have given the episode another look in light of Spears's testimony. 

People have taken to Twitter to voice their support for Spears, with @kehleeeeyyyyyy writing, "Britney's situation rn reminds me of the Ashley O episode from black mirror." @MichaelFrieh draws parallels from the episode to Spears's account in court: "I feel like Britney is the real life version of Ashley O- the way she talked about them putting her on drugs and controlling all aspects of her life. So sick." Ashley ends up regaining control of her art, and all the heroes enjoy a happy ending. Here's hoping Spears soon gets the happy ending she's searching for, too.