Britney Spears fans are calling for a mass blocking of TMZ on Twitter ahead of the news organization’s debut of a new documentary about Spears set to air on Fox Monday night, a move that has both fans and Spears’ husband outraged.
The first teaser for the documentary, Britney Spears: The Price of Freedom, which purported to explore what Spears had been up to in the 18 months since the end of her conservatorship, dropped last week on social media. The videos touch on Spears’ alleged fears, potential marital trouble with husband Sam Asghari, and speculation about her mental health.
TMZ has been teasing the clips in the leadup to the special’s premiere, which include interviews with physicians and psychologists, authors, and several TMZ employees who summarize what anonymous sources have told them as archival footage and clips from Spears’ social media pages illustrate the points they’re trying to make. For example, a video of Spears cutting up fruit with a knife to make a smoothie is used to support the claim from sources that Spears “had a fascination with knives.”
While incomplete, the picture that TMZ is painting of Spears isn’t designed to be a good one. But in recent days, Spears fans have repeatedly called out TMZ for how it’s written about Spears, including acting concerned about things Spears does that, for many people, might be normal. There was also speculation about the intent behind TMZ’s sources speaking out over their concern for Spears.
In the months since Spears gained her freedom, many of her choices have been highly scrutinized and used to speculate about her well-being. In January 2023, Spears released a statement after police arrived at her home for a wellness check due to what she called “prank phone calls” and asked for privacy.
But with The Price of Freedom debuting soon, some fans have started to rally behind a mass blocking of TMZ. Using the hashtag #JusticeForBritney, one Twitter user tweeted a screenshot of their account blocking TMZ on Twitter and called for others to do the same.
“In solidarity of supporting Britney Spears and to put a stop to TMZ and their misinformation and gaslighting, I will be blocking @TMZ,” @ABeardedHero tweeted. “No more lies! Spread the word and as fans stand up for Britney!”
The point of the blocking isn’t just to be supportive of Spears but also to refuse to give TMZ any clicks or views for the kind of coverage they feel has gone into harassment territory.
Others followed suit, with some going further to block the people who work at TMZ. At one point on Monday, #TMZBlockParty was trending on Twitter.
In an Instagram Stories post, Asghari spoke out about The Price of Freedom. He noted that he didn’t want to speak on Spears’ behalf, but he was disgusted by the ways in which TMZ was picking Spears’ life apart and putting it under a microscope. He added that “99% of the time, those are all clickbaits for you to click and for them to make money.”
“How are you going to take the most influential person of her generation, the Princess of Pop, America’s sweetheart, and put her in prison where her father tells her what to do, what water to drink, who to see, and use her as a money-making machine?” Asghari said. “And then, all of a sudden, all of a sudden, after 15 years when she’s free after all those gaslighting, after all those things that went down, now you’re going to put her under a microscope and tell her story? No, no, that’s also disgusting, so don’t do that, and don’t believe what you read online.”