A security firm hired by Britney Spears’ father monitored the pop singer’s phone calls and text messages during the court-sanctioned conservatorship she has lived under since 2008, according to a
In Controlling Britney Spears, Alex Vlasov, a former Black Box Security employee who said he worked with the singer’s team for nearly nine years, said the company had access to Spears’ phone and installed a listening device in her bedroom.
An attorney for Jamie Spears, who runs his daughter’s conservatorship, didn’t deny the surveillance but said it was ‘well within the parameters of the authority conferred upon him by the court.’
Under surveillance: A security firm hired by Britney Spears’ father monitored the her phone calls and texts for the court-sanctioned conservatorship she has lived under since 2008, according to a New York Times documentary released on Friday; seen in 2016 in NYC
According to Vlasov, Black Box mirrored the pop singer’s phone on an iPad by logging in to her iCloud account, giving them access to all of her activity and any messages she sent, including text messages and emails.
He told the filmmakers that he was asked to encrypt some of Spears’ text conversations so they could be sent to her father, Jamie Spears, and an employee of a business management firm he had hired.
When Vlasov questioned the monitoring, he said he was told that Spears’ communications were reviewed ‘for her own security and protection’ and that the court overseeing the conservatorship was ‘aware of it,’ as was her attorney at the time.
The monitoring included discussions between Spears and her attorney, Sam Ingham, according to Vlasov.
Listening in: In Controlling Britney Spears, Alex Vlasov, a former Black Box Security employee, said the company had access to Spears’ phone and installed a listening device in her bedroom
‘Their reason for minoring was looking for bad influences, looking for potential illegal activity that might happen, but they would also monitor conversations with her friends, with her mom, with her lawyer Sam Ingham. If there’s anybody that should be off limits, it should be Britney’s lawyer,’ Vlasov said.
‘Her own phone and her own private conversations were used so often to control her. I know for a fact that Jamie would confront Britney and say, “Hey why didn’t you text this person?”‘ he claimed.
‘Just because you’re in control doesn’t give you the right to treat people like property. It didn’t feel like she was being treated like a human being.’
A lawyer for Black Box Security President Edan Yemini, in a statement shown in the documentary, said, ‘Mr. Yemini and Black Box have always conducted themselves within professional, ethical and legal bounds, and they are particularly proud of their work keeping Ms. Spears safe for many years.’
According to the documentary, the audio recorder ‘captured over 180 hours of audio, including Britney’s interactions and conversations with her boyfriend and her children,’ which Vlasov apparently has at his disposal to prove the degree of surveillance Spears was under.
Receipts: Vlasov apparently has the audio recorder from Spears’ bedroom and hours of recordings at his disposal to prove the degree of surveillance she was under; seen in 2019 in Hollywood
He suggested that Yemini was worried about the contents of the recording and asked him to wipe it clean.
‘I asked what was on it, [Yemini and another employee] seemed very nervous and said it was extremely sensitive, that nobody can ever know about this and that’s why I need to delete everything on it, so there’s no record of it,’ he recounted.
‘That raised so many red flags with me and I did not want to be complicit in whatever they were involved in, so I kept a copy because I didn’t want to delete evidence, and I don’t think it was a coincidence it was done days before she was due to meet with a court investigator.’
Vivian Thoreen, an attorney for Jamie Spears, did not discuss specific allegations, but said that his actions ‘were well within the parameters of the authority conferred upon him by the court,’ and ‘were done with knowledge and consent of Britney, her court-appointed attorney and/or the court.’
‘Jamie’s record as conservator — and the court’s approval of his actions — speak for themselves,’ Thoreen added, saying Jamie Spears had helped his daughter rehabilitate her career and improve her financial situation.
Private talks: Vlasov said the monitoring included discussions between Spears and her attorney, Samuel Ingham. Recording without the consent of both parties is illegal in California, though it’s unclear if the court overseeing the conservatorship was aware of the surveillance; seen in 2016 in Las Vegas
Vlasov claimed that Yemini was ‘relieved’ when the first New York Times documentary on Spears didn’t mention the surveillance she was allegedly under.
‘Edan [Yemini] was so relieved when he saw the first documentary that he wasn’t mentioned, Black Box wasn’t mentioned, Tri Star wasn’t mentioned,’ Vlasov said. ‘It was his biggest fear that security would somehow draw any attention.’
Tri Star is the entertainment group founded by Spear’s former business manager Lou Taylor, whom Vlasov claimed was involved in ‘every step that Britney took.’
The security member alleged that Spears’ father was in constant communication with the team surveilling about her every action.
‘There was a group chat with Edan, [Tri Star employee] Robin [Greenhill], and Jamie, and security where they would basically post all the movement,’ Vlasov claimed.
Listening in: ‘Britney could not have someone in the privacy of her house without those three people knowing,’ Vlasov said; seen in 2018 in Las Vegas
‘Even in the sacred place, her home, every single request was monitored and recorded. Her intimate relations were closely managed. Britney could not have someone in the privacy of her house without those three people knowing.’
The security team even allegedly supervised Spears’ medication, presenting it to her each day and requiring her to take it in their presence.
‘When I took a step back and I looked at everything, it really reminded me of somebody that was in prison and security was put in a position to be the prison guards, essentially,’ Vlasov said.
Spears is fighting to end her conservatorship, which her father Jamie set up in 2008 to oversee her personal affairs and roughly $60 million estate after she suffered a mental breakdown.
The Stronger singer said in June that the arrangement was abusive and humiliating.
In a surprise move earlier in September, Jamie Spears said that he supported ending the conservatorship because circumstances had changed.
‘Shameful’: Spears’ new attorney, Mathew Rosengart, said in a statement that he would investigate the new allegations, calling them ‘a shameful violation of her privacy rights’; seen in 2018 in Hollywood
A hearing on the case is scheduled for Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Spears’ new attorney, Mathew Rosengart, said in a statement that he would investigate the new allegations.
‘Any unauthorized intercepting or monitoring of Britney’s communications — especially attorney-client communications, which are a sacrosanct part of the legal system — would represent a shameful violation of her privacy rights and a striking example of the deprivation of her civil liberties,’ Rosengart said.
‘Placing a listening device in Britney’s bedroom would be particularly inexcusable and disgraceful, and corroborates so much of her compelling, poignant testimony,’ he continued. ‘These actions must be fully and aggressively investigated.’
Controlling Britney Spears was released Friday night on the FX cable network and on Hulu.
It follows a documentary by the same filmmakers, called Framing Britney Spears, which debuted in February and helped spark new interest in the case.
Moving on: In a surprise move earlier in September, Jamie Spears said that he supported ending the conservatorship because circumstances had changed; seen in 2016 in Las Vegas
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