Fourteen years ago, pop luminary Britney Spears had attacked a paparazzi’s SUV with an umbrella, inexplicably shaved her head as photographer’s clicked furiously, and was as it seemed, unspooling in front of the entire world. Spears acolyte Chris Crocker was nineteen years old at the time and could not sit idly by while the pop princess came unhinged without anyone standing up for her. The subsequent ‘Leave Britney Alone’ video they created became equal parts parody and passionate, making Crocker the butt of late-night talk show hosts and a South Park spoof. Crocker was having their own family struggles that somewhat mirrored Spears’ (which they detailed in an exclusive interview with NPR). Internet fandom and public mockery followed, along with Crocker’s own climb from the depths of sudden fame and the pitfalls that can sometimes, subsequently follow them.
While many in Crocker’s position would consider Britney’s public emancipation of last week to be the moment they made a follow-up video proclaiming that their defense of the pop princess all those years ago was more than warranted, Crocker is not looking for their own personal moment of vindication right now. “There’s no way to feel vindicated about it because the entire point of making the video was for her to be happy and free and to know that in real time, at this very minute, she still is not?” they said. “Overall, it’s still not about me. And I think people like to retroactively clap for me or say they should have listened, but I’m more interested in people self-reflecting on why they didn’t.” “Listen, at the time, I think it had much more to do with how I looked and how I was saying it,” they explained. “And it’s hard to feel vindicated when she’s still trapped.”
As Spears herself prepares for her own potential emancipation, Crocker is ready to place the spotlight firmly on Spears voice and wishes for her own next phase. They said to NPR “I don’t really know how to [react] when people are always like, ‘Chris Crocker is right,’ because that’s not really the point,” they emphatically said. “It’s sort of like, every time [Spears] in the headlines, they want to retroactively clap for me, and it’s not that I don’t appreciate people being kind, it’s just that it’s not about me. So if they could use that energy to keep it about what she has to say, that’s what’s important.”
Follow Chris Crocker on Instagram