Anyone following Britney Spears' Instagram, whether casual fan or lifetime Breathe Heavy reader, will have questions. The pop icon's social media presence is characterized by strangely edited dance videos and selfies, grainy Google Image Search mom memes and lengthy, often unexplained absences. She has also dabbled in some accidental socialism.
As much as we all love Brit, something has always seemed off. Spears has been under a strict conservatorship for more than a decade, and many #FreeBritney conspiracy theorists read secret messages into her more mysterious posts — pleas for help, or subtle hints that she's not fully in control of her own Instagram account.
As far as Spears' social media manager is concerned, the rumors need to stop. Cassie Petrey, who founded the social media marketing agency Crowdsurf, posted a lengthy statement on her own Instagram last night, blasting "inaccurate" conspiracy theories and asserting that Britney is mostly responsible for the daggy content you see on her 'gram. Like any celebrity, Spears has a social media team, but according to Petrey no one's coercing her to post one way or another.
"Britney creates her own posts and writes her own captions," Petrey writes. "She finds her own Google Images, Pinterest images, quotes, memes… Nobody is suggesting any of that stuff to her." Furthermore: "She generally edits the videos herself. If a video she sends in is edited by her social media team, it's because she gave specific instructions and asked for it to be edited that way. Then she sees it and decides if she wants to post it or not."
Petrey says she wasn't hired by Spears' controversial business manager Lou Taylor and doesn't have much knowledge of the artist's conservatorship situation, which Taylor is said to have masterminded.
She also directly addresses claims that Spears is planting secret messages in the posts: "She is literally just living her life and trying to have fun on Instagram." Crucially, she asks fans to be nice to Spears and not "bully" her for some of the weirder content that appears on her grid.
It's definitely some welcome clarification, although the #FreeBritney crowd will no doubt have more questions. Why doesn't Spears interact with the comments section, for example? And to put things more bluntly, if these posts do reflect the popstar's true state of mind, is she, well, okay?