Vinay Menon: Is Britney Spears sharing creepy videos to send an S.O.S. to fans inside the #FreeBritney movement?

Is Britney Spears a hostage who is sending cryptic clues to fans via Instagram?

That’s right, people. Put on your boots. Grab a shovel and miner’s lamp. We are going down a rabbit hole today. Have you ever seen something that’s not supposed to be spooky, but somehow it is? No? Well, watch a video Ms. Spears recently posted and tell me if you don’t get the chills.

The clip, shot against a white backdrop that erases any perception between floor and wall, begins with the pop star in hands-on-hips formation. It’s a similar pose to “Fearless Girl,” if that Wall Street bronze statue was promoting female empowerment in skimpy white shorts and a puffy crop top.

As Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita” plays, Britney takes a step forward, scrutinizing her appearance, like she’s staring into a change room mirror. She locks eyes on the camera. She grins and manically taps her bangs. She steps back. She steps forward. She tilts her head. She smiles. Around the 35-second mark, she toggles her weight between legs and exits the frame.

Then she returns and, oops, she does it again and again and again and again and again …

That’s all that happens for two minutes and 40 seconds. Britney is trapped in a bizarre selfie loop. She does not say a word. She just keeps slinking away and wandering back toward the lens like a curious chipmunk in search of an invisible acorn. The only way this video would make sense is if Britney, with her thumbs tucked into belt loops, was a cowgirl auditioning for a runway gig in a fashion show with a “Life Is a Computer Simulation” theme.

Look, after a recent column on UFOs and Bob Lazar, some of you now think I’m an unhinged conspiracy theorist. It breaks my heart. I’m not! I have a science degree. Unless my wife is accusing me of something, I live by facts and evidence and logic and truth and personal responsibility.

But after watching this video, I suddenly understand the #FreeBritney movement.

Following a public breakdown, in which she shaved her head and launched a savage umbrella attack on a car, Spears has been living under a legal conservatorship since 2008. Her affairs are handled by a trust, led by her father. But #FreeBritney, which has gained momentum on social media, claims Britney is being held against her will and is desperately sending S.O.S. hints.

She recently shared a photograph in a bikini in which her body was covered in henna symbols that would have baffled the codebreakers who tried to crack the Zodiac Killer ciphers. One of the first comments was, “What signs she wanna give us!?”

Her posts are no longer celebrity whimsy. They are widely received as exhibits in a dark conspiracy that has garnered the endorsement of other celebrities, including Miley Cyrus, Rose McGowan, Ariel Winter and Paris Hilton. A #FreeBritney petition on Change.org — “her father doesn’t allow her to drive, all of her calls & messages are monitored, she’s not allowed to vote, hang with anyone or spend her money without permission” — has racked up more than 100,000 signatures.

To thousands of fans, Britney is no longer a pop star — she’s a prisoner.

A common theme in her comments has fans imploring her to wear a certain colour or say a specific word to confirm she is being held against her will. Incredibly, or coincidentally, this happens frequently. Didn’t someone recently ask her to mention “fruit” if she’s in trouble? Here’s a line from the caption she included with the creepy video: “I had an experience in New York where they had an overhead shower that would sprinkle your body with hot water and fruit … yes fruit was involved.”

And right now I’m soaking in a tub of FREAKED OUT!

I haven’t been this unsettled since visiting a friend’s cottage a few years back. In the dusk, as my wife and everyone else was whooping it up inside and making dinner, I wandered out to sip my martini in nature. I suddenly had the feeling I was being watched. It was a bird in a tree. Motionless. Staring. Sinister. Owl? Hawk? I’m still not sure. But I swear to God, it looked like a dog with wings.

That’s what my eyes relayed to my brain: “Hey, idiot! Go back inside because that flying pit bull is about to swoop down and maul you!”

I abandoned my martini on the Muskoka chair. I haven’t run that fast since Grade 3.

Something that should not be terrifying scared the living daylights out of me.

That’s how I feel about Britney Spears right now.

Why is she posting an image of the pink gas planet GJ 504b and writing, “Can I just go here already”? Why is she “accidentally” burning down her home gym? Some of her fans have encouraged her to mention “yellow,” as a kind of 911 tip-off. On Friday, she posted an inspirational meme that was literally titled “Yellow.” It included the words “optimism, happiness, sunshine, laughter, enthusiasm, confidence, emotional strength, friendliness, creativity, stimulating, uplifting, knowledge, self-esteem.”

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The first comment: “IS THIS THE SIGN WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR?”

I have no idea. But a stream of yellow is running down my leg right now.

And I can no longer dismiss #FreeBritney as an insane conspiracy theory.

Vinay Menon

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