Are you even a fan in 2023 if you aren’t perpetuating at least one conspiracy theory about the celebrity you devote all your time to?
In the case of Britney Spears’ fans, they’ve had reasons for closely scrutinizing her life and what she posts online. The #FreeBritney movement, which called for Spears to be released from a conservatorship that allowed her father to control her life, was fueled by fans noting irregularities in Spears’ social media posts and speculating that she was sending coded messages to them as she wasn’t able to speak freely. While the restrictive conservatorship has been terminated, her online devotees remain concerned about Spears, whose posts on social media are often eccentric.
Now, fans are concerned that Spears is once more under someone else’s control, and that her team is going so far as to post deepfakes of Britney getting married and dancing in order to conceal the truth. A key component of this conspiracy is that these fans do not trust Sam Asghari, Spears’ new husband, and believe he is part of a cover-up attempting to conceal the fact that Spears is being confined somewhere, or worse, is dead.
@britneyisnotfree Where is britney???? #whereisbritney #britneyisnotfree #freebritney ♬ original sound - #britneyisnotfree
Potentially the funniest sentence from that video is, “I am not convinced of any of the fun that was allegedly had at the wedding,” narrated over the top of a video of Madonna doing a “weird dance,” provided as proof that Madonna wasn’t actually at the wedding either. Madonna doing a “weird dance” seems perfectly in character for someone known for elaborate dance routines, but sure.
Another video, which has garnered more than 27 million views, claims to show the “A.I. filter” slipping on a video of Britney waving her hands in front of her face. Some commenters managed to convince themselves that the video featured Jamie Lynn Spears, Britney’s estranged younger sister, based on the fact that when the “filter slips,” the woman’s eyes look more like Jamie Lynn’s than Britney’s. (Crazy that Britney’s eyes might occasionally resemble her sister’s. Unheard of.)
@harmlessness_ #stitch with @Cat Valles #greenscreen #britneyismissing #whereisbritney #ai #prayforbritney #shesgone #hollywood #britneyspears #samasghari #loutaylor #crimetok #conspiracy #truthseeker #womensrights #humanrights #lovealwayswins #aitools #parishilton #selenagomez #creepy #secrets ♬ original sound - ☀️♀️
The conspiracy theory is reminiscent of the ongoing conspiracy theory (but really a meme, since few people take it seriously) that Avril Lavigne died and was replaced by a clone named Melissa in 2003. In the case of Spears, technology has evidently evolved so much that the idea of a clone has been abandoned in favor of an A.I.-generated deepfake.
Again, Britney fans have been on edge for a long time now, constantly looking for any kind of lurking danger, going so far as to find problems where there are none. In fact, earlier this year, Spears asked fans to respect her privacy after they triggered a welfare check by police when Spears deactivated her Instagram account.
Cara Cunningham, who went viral all those years ago for the unforgettable “Leave Britney Alone” video, ultimately had a point: Whether it be her controlling parents, or overbearing fans, at a certain point, people really do just need to pack up their conspiracy theories and leave Britney alone.