A former member of Britney Spears’ security team is alleging in a new documentary that the pop star was under constant surveillance during her conservatorship, which included having all communication on her phone monitored and an audio recorder placed in her bedroom.
Alex Vlasov, a former assistant and operations cybersecurity manager who worked at Black Box Security, gave an explosive interview in Controlling Britney Spears, a follow-up documentary to Framing Britney Spears on FX and Hulu’s the New York Times Presents series. In the documentary, which premiered Friday night on FX and Hulu, Vlasov said he worked closely with Edan Yemini, president of Spears’ longtime security company, from 2012 to 2021 and had access to emails, text messages, phone calls, and meetings that confirmed the surveillance.
“Edan 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.”
Vlasov said when he asked Yemini why security was with Spears 24 hours a day, he said that it was part of the conservatorship and their client was Spears’ father, Jamie, not the pop star herself. The documentary also mentioned how Spears’ former business manager Lou Taylor, founder and CEO of Tri Star Sports & Entertainment Group, and Tri Star employee Robin Greenhill were deeply involved in “every step that Britney took.”
To read our investigative series on the guardianship industry, "Beyond Britney," go here.
“There was a group chat with Edan, Robin, and Jamie and security where they would basically post all the movement,” Vlasov said. “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.”
According to Vlasov, when Spears asked for an iPhone, her security team set up a separate iPad using Spears’ iCloud login in order to mirror all activity on her phone and monitor all of her messages, FaceTime calls, notes, browser history, and photographs.
Vlasov said he asked Yemini if the security team was legally allowed to monitor the activity on Spears’ phone, and he said, “Yes, the court is aware of this; Britney’s lawyer is aware of this. This is for her safety; it's for her protection.”
Vlasov also said he was asked by Yemini to encrypt Spears’ messages and give them to him so he could pass them on to Spears’ father and Greenhill.
“Their reason for [monitoring] 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?’ 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.”
Vlasov added that the security team was in charge of Spears’ medication; they would allegedly receive prepackaged medicine and hand it to Spears, and she would have to take it in front of them.
“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,” he said.
Vlasov also alleges that Yemini put an audio recording device into Spears’ bedroom, despite the fact that it’s illegal in California to record people’s private conversations without their knowledge or consent. According to the documentary, “the recordings captured over 180 hours of audio, including Britney’s interactions and conversations with her boyfriend and her children.”
Vlasov said Yemini and another agent handed him the audio recording device and asked him to delete its contents.
“I asked what was on it. They 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 said. “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.”
In response to the allegations that Spears' private conversations were under strict surveillance and monitoring, Spears' new lawyer Mathew Rosengart said in a statement, "Unauthorized recording or monitoring of Britney’s private communications—especially attorney-client communications, which are a sacrosanct part of the legal system—represent an unconscionable and disgraceful violation of her privacy rights and a striking example of the deprivation of her civil liberties. Placing a listening device in Britney’s bedroom would be particularly horrifying, and corroborates so much of her compelling, poignant testimony. Mr. Spears has crossed unfathomable lines."