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Many will recall Chris Crocker's 2007 plea to "Leave Britney alone!" However, 2007 was a different time. Where does the viral star stand today on #FreeBritney?

“Free Britney”: What’s changed for Britney Spears since 2007?

Back in 2007, hopeful YouTube star and 19-year-old Chris Crocker sat in front of their bedroom camera, seemingly placed in front of a tarped blanket which acted as a tent-of-truth so to speak as he professed to the world in shameless tears to “Leave Britney alone!” It was an act that many professed to be pathetic, forcing the world to laugh at Crocker as this classic YouTube moment would go on to be memed for years. 

The cultural impact behind this 2007 video still resonates today, perhaps even louder than ever, making those of us who poked fun at Chris Crocker’s dramatic allegiance to the “Oops I Did It Again” singer question if he knew something we perhaps didn’t? Today, after a much-publicized court battle between Britney Spears and her father over a conservatorship, we now see that perhaps Chris Crocker was right all along.

Spears, who last week was finally able to profess her feelings in a courtroom setting regarding her father Jamie’s conservatorship over her possessions, has sparked a movement that many consider Crocker’s 2007 viral video to be the start of, the #FreeBritney movement.  2007 was no doubt a much harder time for people such as Spears and Crocker, but now, finally, it seems that many finally have their backs. 

Have you checked out Framing Britney Spears?

Framing Britney Spears, currently available to stream on Hulu, follows Britney Spears’s 13-year long conservatorship, first put in place in 2008 after multiple public mental outbreaks. The conservatorship is led by her father Jamie, allowing him to make decisions for all of Britney Spears’s estates & businesses. Additionally, in 2020 it was determined that Jamie Spears would also control her Bessemer Trust. 

The documentary has a clear focus on supporting the #FreeBritney movement as well as ending the conservatorship placed on her, a sentiment perhaps first echoed by Chris Crocker in his 2007 video. The film also explores the harassment Spears suffered from the media ever since she was a teenager, including a rough Diana Sawyer interview from 2003 to which she was questioned about ex-boyfriend, Justin Timberlake. 

The documentary touched on Justin Timberlake’s role in all of this, and how he publicly burned Spears after their breakup in 2002. Timberlake used the media to tarnish her “good girl” image by sharing explicit details of their relationship over time. He capped it all off with his 2002 hit “Cry Me a River”, which clearly depicts him trying to get revenge on an ex-l0ver who cheated on him. Today, we truly see who the victim was in all of this. 

Sign of the times

In a recent interview with NPR, Crocker disclosed their feelings regarding his 2007 viral moment, and where he stands today regarding #FreeBritney. He offered the following soliloquy:

“I always felt that if people just read the transcript and didn’t pay attention to how I looked or that I was screaming and just read what I said, there’s nothing comical about it. Like I was listing the fact that Britney had lost her aunt. She was going through a divorce. She just had kids and, you know, I was scared she had post-partum [depression] or something.”

They continued: “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? 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.”

They concluded by discussing their viral moment: “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? Overall, it’s still not about me.”

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