Los Angeles, June 27 (AP/UNB) — The conservatorship that oversees Britney Spears' personal life and career sued the creator of a blog devoted to the pop superstar Wednesday in an increasingly aggressive effort to push back against the so-called "Free Britney" movement, which alleges the singer is being controlled against her will.
The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles alleges that Anthony Elia, who runs the website Absolute Britney, has falsely claimed the court-ordered conservatorship has manipulated Spears' Instagram account to make her appear more troubled and in need of help than she actually is.
"It is time for the conspiracy theories about Britney Spears' well-being and the mob #FreeBritney movement to stop," the lawsuit states in its opening line.
Elia's blog and its social media accounts have played a key role in the "Free Britney" phenomenon, a group of fans who say on social media and in public protests that the singer is being controlled against her will by her father Jaime, who serves as her conservator, and that she is surreptitiously seeking help to free herself.
The suit alleges that Elia "has made it his mission to spread false and malicious lies on the internet about Britney, her conservatorship and her team, including that those around Britney are harming her and not acting in her best interests."
A message sent through the blog and an email seeking comment from Elia were not immediately returned.
The suit comes two weeks after the conservatorship for similar reasons sought and received a five-year restraining order against Spears' former manager Sam Lutfi. It prohibits him from trying to undermine the conservatorship by contacting members of the Spears family or writing disparaging posts on social media.
A conservatorship, known in some states as a guardianship, is normally reserved for those who are severely debilitated. One was established for Spears 11 years ago during her very public meltdown, and has been kept in place ever since. The arrangement has increasingly come under attack from fans, who have grown especially loud about it in recent months.
Spears has offered little public comment on the conservatorship. At her request, she addressed the judge who oversees it in court last month. The hearing was closed and it's not clear what Spears said, but the judge ordered a court review of her situation before another hearing in September.
The suit focuses on a June 14 Absolute Britney Instagram post that alleges the conservatorship was seeking to manipulate Britney Spears' Instagram account.
"Britney's team is deleting positive comments on her Instagram post and leaving negative ones to keep up the illusion that she needs help!" the post says. "This has to be a human rights violation!!!!"
The post, which the suit calls "false and defamatory," was discussed by bigger blogs and some media outlets. Elia shared some of those reports.
The suit seeks unspecified damages and a court injunction permanently prohibiting Elia from spreading information on the subject.
Spears' has put her career on hold for most of the year.
In January she postponed a planned Las Vegas residency indefinitely to be with her father, who was hospitalized after a serious surgery.
And in April she announced in an Instagram post that she was taking time off to focus on self-care.
New York, Jun 26 (AP/UNB) — Netflix's announcement that NBC's hit show "The Office" will be pulled from its lineup after 2020 and head to NBCUniversal's upcoming service is the latest example of jockeying between streaming services that is set to heat up as they bulk up their TV and movie offerings to attract users.
In a tweet Tuesday, Netflix said it was "sad" that NBC was taking back the show but added it will still be on Netflix for the next year and a half.
As people abandon traditional pay TV providers like cable, services like Netflix and Hulu have benefited by offering viewers TV shows from traditional networks. But content makers like NBC Universal, Disney and Warner Media are entering the game and will likely take back much of their own shows and movies.
London, Jun 26 (AP/UNB) — Singer Sheryl Crow says the original tapes of albums such as "Tuesday Night Music Club" and the track "All I Wanna Do" perished in a 2008 fire at Universal Music Group.
Crow told the BBC Wednesday that her master tapes and back-ups were destroyed in the blaze and that she only discovered the loss after a New York Times report revealed the extent of the damage.
Crow says the fire "feels a little apocalyptic" and that she didn't "understand the cover-up."
A group of artists, including Soundgarden and estates representing Tupac Shakur and Tom Petty, have sued. The artists allege that Universal failed to protect music ruined in the fire and inform them of the extent of its impact.
Universal did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
London, Jun 26 (AP/UNB) — Britain's Prince William says it would be "absolutely fine" if one of his children came out as gay though he'd worry about how the public would respond.
William made the comment on Wednesday while visiting a London nonprofit group that works with young LGBT people who are homeless or living in hostile environments.
A participant in a group discussion at the Albert Kennedy Trust asked him, "If your child one day in the future said, 'Oh I'm gay, oh I'm lesbian' whatever, how would you react?"
William replied that would be "obviously absolutely fine by me."
The father of three said: "It worries me not because of them being gay. It worries me as to how everyone else will react and perceive it, and then the pressure is then on them."
Los Angeles, June 26 (AP/UNB) — Hundreds of Michael Jackson fans gathered at his grave for a daylong celebration of his life and music Tuesday, with some traveling thousands of miles to join in the singalongs, selfies and moment of silence that marked the 10th anniversary of the death of the King of Pop.
"If you have a depressing day, and you listen to Michael Jackson, it just seems to make everything better," said Kurt Williams, 21, who was dressed as Jackson and flew in from South Carolina for the occasion. "He was a master singer, a master dancer and a master humanitarian."
It was largely a lively celebration outside the mausoleum that is Jackson's final resting place at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California, where his music played loudly amid a sea of floral arrangements and poster-sized pictures of the pop superstar who died at age 50 on June 25, 2009.
A solemn moment came as more than 200 fans joined hands in a giant circle at 2:26 p.m., the time Jackson died. After a moment of silence, they pointed at the sky and yelled "Michael!" in unison.
"There are people dying, if you care enough for the living, make it a better place, for you and me," the crowd sang together in an emotional group rendition of Jackson's anthem "Heal the World."
Jackson's estate also paid tribute to his life and artistry on the anniversary.
"Ten years ago today, the world lost a gifted artist and extraordinary humanitarian," the estate said in a statement to The Associated Press. "A decade later, Michael Jackson is still with us, his influence embedded in dance, fashion, art and music of the moment. He is more important than ever."
Jackson's estate has doggedly worked to protect and enhance Jackson's legacy, a task made more challenging this year when two men accused Jackson of molesting them as boys in the HBO documentary "Leaving Neverland," sparking new scrutiny of years-old claims that Jackson preyed on children.
Jackson was acquitted of abuse allegations in 2005 and always vehemently denied such allegations, and the estate and his family angrily refuted the men's claims when the documentary was released in March, noting the men had at one time been among Jackson's biggest defenders and one testified on his behalf at his criminal trial.
For many of those gathered at the cemetery it was a demonstration of solidarity in the wake of the documentary.
"Now more than ever, we've got to show that we know that Michael Jackson is innocent," Williams said, as Jackson's song "Smooth Criminal" blasted in the background. "There is no muting going on. There is just a life of celebration. It's cool to be around people who feel the same way."
Some parents brought their children to Forest Lawn.
Dominic Lendo, 6, drew the attention of much of the crowd as he showed off Jackson dance moves while wearing the singer's Billie Jean-era garb.
"I like to sing like him, and I like to dance like him," Dominic said as he stood with his father, Omar Lendo, 43, who added, "He loves to dance and that's all he does all day. If it's not Michael Jackson he doesn't want to hear it."
Michael Leon, 25, came from Beijing for the occasion and led the crowd in a rendition of "You Are Not Alone," one of Jackson's later hits.
"That song is my favorite one, and it suits the situation," Leon said. "I'm not religious, but I hope Michael would be happy."
Other fans came from as far as Tokyo and Florence, Italy.
A heart made from flowers in the colors of the Iranian flag featured the message "Iran (hearts) MJ." Another flowered heart read "Love from Denmark."
Others gathered on Tuesday at Jackson's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and his last home in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, where the singer received a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol from his doctor. Jackson was declared dead at a hospital at age 50.
Thomas Mesereau, the attorney who successfully defended Jackson at his 2005 trial, issued a statement Tuesday saying "Jackson's compassion, humanity, empathy and talent continues to inspire family, friends, supporters and fans across the globe. The legend of this great father, son, sibling and artist marches forward with characteristic brilliance and wonder. His legacy can be attacked by opportunists. But it will never be defeated."
John Branca and John McClain, both major figures in Jackson's career when he was alive, as co-executors have taken his badly debt-ridden estate and grossed over $1.3 billion through various Jackson-related projects in the past decade, including the film "This Is It," a pair of Cirque du Soleil shows and the sale of Jackson assets that included The Beatles song catalog.
Jackson left everything to his mother, his children and charity in his will.
The singer's father, Joe, died last year and is buried in the same cemetery as his son. But Michael's 89-year-old mother, five brothers, three sisters and three children remain alive and well 10 years later .
Jackson's brothers tweeted a picture of him with the words, "Forever in our hearts, 1958-2009."