2:24pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Britney Spears' Father Sues Blogger for Defamation Over #FreeBritney-Related Allegations
Britney Spears' father has been in control of her personal and business affairs as her conservator for more than a decade — and now a renewed effort by fans to #FreeBritney has sparked a defamation complaint.
Jamie Spears was appointed Britney's conservator in 2008, and says from time to time groups have made false statements and questioned whether the arrangement was in the singer's best interest. But this time, he's taking legal action.
"It's time for the conspiracy theories about Britney Spears' well-being and the mob #FreeBritney movement to stop," states the complaint. "Over the past few months, Britney and her father Jamie have sat by while fans have accused them of numerous false and malicious things, including attempts to mislead the public with the content that appears on her social media."
According to the complaint, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court by Larry Stein and Ashley Yeargan of Russ August & Kabat, a blogger named Anthony Elia has "been one of the loudest voices in that crowd."
Jamie Spears claims Elia has made it his mission to ensure Britney's conservatorship ends without any information about the reality of the situation.
Elia alleged in a June 14 blog post that Britney's team was deleting positive comments on her Instagram page to make sure negative comments got more attention and described it as "a human rights violation." His claims were picked up by MSN, Us Weekly, In Touch, Perez Hilton and others, according to the complaint. In addition to the blog post, Elia also posted several tweets and retweets spreading the allegations. The next day, he posted that the negative comments were gone and the positive comments reappeared. Spears' lawyers argue that nothing was deleted in the first place and that it's actually impossible to re-post deleted comments on Instagram.
"Enough is enough," states the complaint. "It is time that Elia understands that his words have consequences and he cannot blindly spout his baseless theories any longer."
Jamie Spears, as conservator of Britney's estate, is suing for defamation and false light invasion of privacy and asking the court for actual and punitive damages and an injunction barring Elia from republishing or otherwise disseminating the statements.
Elia on Thursday sent The Hollywood Reporter a statement in response to the complaint: "I am forever blessed and I have faith that good always wins. I have no further comments, except that I love Britney and the Britney army."
June 27, 9:08 a.m. Updated with a statement from Anthony Elia.