Skip to main content

Britney Spears' New Lawyer Is Going From Conservatorship Win To Defending Facebook From 'False And Defamatory' TV Adaptation

screenshot britney and mark z
(Image credit: Britney Spears' YouTube/HBO)

Britney Spears might have mixed feelings about all those streaming documentaries about her life, but they do seem to get one thing right: the pop star tried to get a lawyer that wasn't court-appointed in the intervening years of her conservatorship. This year, she finally got her wish for a new lawyer to represent her, and it didn't take much time thereafter for her father to be permanently suspended as a conservator. With Spears’ legal battle still ongoing, though, her legal representation has taken to defending Facebook in the meantime concerning a “false and defamatory” TV adaptation.

Mathew Rosengart, who started representing the pop star in July, is simultaneously representing Facebook in its case against the Anonymous Content production company, according to Variety. Things aren't too contentious at the moment, though the social media giant did send a strongly-worded warning to the company for “recklessly” pursuing a book-to-TV adaptation about the social media conglomerate. The book in question is Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang’s An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook's Battle for Domination, in which the two New York Times reporters offer an exposé on the alleged scandals and culture at Facebook. In a legal letter obtained by Variety, Rosengart told Anonymous Content CEO Dawn Olmstead:

Facebook obviously recognizes that it is a public figure and has great respect for the First Amendment and the right of journalists and film or television producers to publish stories about it. The First Amendment does not protect knowingly false statements or portrayals — or those made with reckless disregard for the truth — even about public figures.

The lawyer stipulated that Facebook would consider consulting on the TV show’s production in order to create an “accurate and truthful” depiction of the social media corporation. However, the letter claimed that if the adaptation is any way similar to the book’s “false and defamatory” implications, then Facebook would take legal action against them.

Apparently, one of the biggest issues with the source material for the new adaptation concerns allegations aimed at the company's creator and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Mathew Rosengart specifically denied the book’s claims that Zuckerberg changed Facebook policy at the behest of former President Donald Trump, and thereby chose “company over country.” The lawyer in fact wrote in the legal letter that it was “a grossly misleading characterization” and that Anonymous Content and others associated should consider themselves on notice for potential legal consequences.

The TV adaptation is still in early stages of pre-production, with the tentative title Doomsday Machine. So far, it has also only cast The Crown’s Claire Foy as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg . Anonymous Content, which spearheaded the Emmy-winning Mr. Robot series, will be producing the new show with Wiip (one of the production companies behind HBO's Mare of Easttown).

It would seem that Mathew Rosengart is juggling a lot of high-profile cases at the moment. Britney Spears’ father might now be out of the picture, but her conservatorship is far from completely over. Likewise, Facebook is throwing some serious weight against yet another (potential) negative depiction of its leader, and it remains to be seen whether the project will ultimately see the light of day.

Lauren Vanderveen

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.