Despite the truth of that statement, Crocker became a punching bag for everyone from stand-up comedians to anonymous online commenters, and the hits came from all sides. Sometimes, they explained, those hits were literal. It wasn't uncommon for Crocker to go to local bars and get attacked by people who didn't like them or the video, and the attacks were often rooted in transphobia.
"There were numerous, I mean numerous occasions," they explained. "There were situations where like, there were men trying to chase after me to beat me up and I got away. And there were other situations where I was literally just standing there and someone walks up and smacks me across the face."
Crocker recalled during that instance that the man got kicked out of the bar, only to wait outside for two hours for them to come out and jump them on their way to the car. He physically attacked them, ruthlessly beating them, all while calling them an "embarrassment to the community," they said. It was a violent act, one that was likely an extension of their assailant's own struggles with self-acceptance, they explained. ("Not that that makes it OK, obviously," they added.)
And as for the generally negative response the video received at the time?
"Still, to this day, people still make memes and make fun of that video," Crocker, who is now 33, said. "So I've had to really realize it's not about me, it's just about how society gets really uncomfortable with truth that they're not willing to accept from the messenger. I think no one now can argue with what I said—they just didn't like the messenger."
This is not an 'I told you so' moment
It was a difficult time in Crocker's life, to have so much negative attention focused on them at the age of 19, and it led to a diagnosis of complex PTSD. But if you're wondering if Crocker feels vindicated now, with the influx of people on social media saying that they were right and they deserve an apology? The answer is an emphatic no, and they would argue that there's no place for any kind of vindication at all, not when Spears herself continues to suffer, as she has done silently for years.
"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."