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The "Framing Britney Spears" Director Opened Up About Being "Unsure" Britney Ever Received Her Requests To Participate In Filming

"The thing about that is you can't ask Britney if she needs help because there's such a tight cone of silence around her that is enabled by the conservatorship."

Posted on February 10, 2021, at 6:55 a.m. ET

Framing Britney Spears — the documentary charting the life and fame of the iconic singer — has attracted a huge amount of attention since its release less than a week ago.

Hulu/New York Times

After watching the film, viewers expressed outrage over the misogyny Britney endured as she rose to fame, the intrusion she suffered at the hands of the paparazzi, the way she was treated by ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake, and the restraints of her conservatorship.


However, despite the documentary featuring numerous lawyers, media commentators, and even Britney's former assistant, the singer and her family were notably absent from the film.


And closing-out notes at the end of the documentary revealed that Britney had been "contacted numerous times" about participating, but the filmmakers were unsure the requests ever reached her.


Well, the documentary's director, Samantha Stark, has now elaborated on the situation, claiming that the production team tried "several different ways" to reach Britney — and even direct messaged her on social media — but heard "nothing" back.

"Most of the time ... if I want to interview somebody who's famous, I would call up their publicist and say, 'Can you send this request to this person?'" Samantha told Entertainment Tonight. "A lot of times, the person will review it and give it back to the publicist. But we're unclear whether that happened."

"We went through those usual places, and then we also went through people who know her or know people who know her to get requests in," she added. "So we asked in several different ways, but it is still unclear if she definitely got them. We tried everything. Nothing."

Tim Mosenfelder / Getty Images

"Since Britney has such a tight circle around her, in part because of the conservatorship, journalists haven't really been able to interview her freely," Samantha went on.

"We, as the New York Times, haven't interviewed her, because we want to be able to do it freely with no one trying to adjust what she says or anything," she added. "It just feels like you can't ask Britney."

And Samantha also revealed that she felt "conflicted" over making the documentary without Britney's involvement throughout the entire process.

"There's a big ethical conflict for me in making a film where the central person in it isn't participating," she said. "It's really something that I've been thinking about this entire time that's really challenging. I guess I would want to say to her, 'Call me. I want to hear your side.'"

Earlier this week, Samantha revealed that she'd resorted to analyzing Britney's social media posts as she believes that the singer's Instagram is the "only place" fans will "actually hear from her."

"The thing about that is you can’t ask Britney if she needs help because there’s such a tight cone of silence around her that is enabled by the conservatorship," she told Variety. "It feels like her Instagram is the only place you can actually hear from her. I look at Britney’s Instagram every day to see if there’s a new post and if I can look into it."

And, on Tuesday, Britney appeared to acknowledge the documentary for the first time with a statement posted to Instagram.

"I'll always love being on stage but I am taking the time to learn and be a normal person," she wrote. "I love simply enjoying the basics of every day life! Each person has their story and their take on other people's stories! We all have so many different bright beautiful lives."

"Remember, no matter what we think we know about a person's life it is nothing compared to the actual person living behind the lens," she signed off the post.

You can read Samantha's full interview with Entertainment Tonight here, and Variety here.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.