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This Day in Pop: Criminal music video premieres in 2011 (October 17)

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On October 17, 2011, Britney Spears released the Criminal music video, the last single off Femme Fatale. It was directed by Chris Mars Piliero, who had previously directed I Wanna Go.

The video was shot in the streets of London, right before she started the European leg of her Femme Fatale Tour. She said in an interview for AOL "I've never shot on location out of the country of America for a video. So, it should be very interesting. It was partly my idea ... to see if it could to happen, and they were like, 'Yeah, it's a great idea,' so we did it."


A  few days before the production began, the details of the video leaked, as wells as the people they were casting for a role in the video which included "hot girls" for the fiance to be with at the party, a "chubby grocery store clerk", "male cop", "Chief of police" and a Britney body double. Jason Trawick, Britney's boyfriend at the time, was also in the video.

The Fiance is a pompous *******. Very good looking and can easily get the ladies, but you look at him and you say to yourself, “That guy’s a *********.” Must be fit for fighting scene.
Britney is at an upper-class event with her Fiance. We see her expensive engagement ring on her finger. He’s flirting with other girls and treating Britney poorly. Britney is clearly not happy with him or her surroundings… She constantly checks her Swarovski watch hoping the night will end soon. She does something to embarrass her Fiance. He grabs her roughly by the wrist and pulls her outside.



As they exit the building they quickly pass by the body of someone who is sitting on the ground leaning against the wall for a cigarette break. The Fiance throws Britney against the wall and slaps Britney. He then squeezes her face tight and yells at her. He then slaps her hard across the face. He goes for another swing and Jason catches his wrist. He then quickly plows into the Fiance with his fist. The Fiance doesn’t know what hit him. He’s on the ground with a bloody banged up face looking around. Britney is in shock.




They ride the motorcycle to the grocery store. While Jason is grabbing groceries Britney goes to the front counter and pulls out a gun and robs the clerk



Suddenly… we see boots quickly shuffling around outside. Police cars are parked as more arrive. They surround the apartment. The Chief gets on his megaphone and starts shouting into it. Britney and Jason are out of the shower and look through the blinds to discover the police everywhere with their guns drawn. They throw on some clothes and attempt to escape out the back, but the police are there waiting as well. The officers begin firing into the building as Britney and Jason begin to passionately kiss. Glass shatters… walls explode with holes and dust clouds… debris flies everywhere. Lots of slow-motion shots… Destruction inside and outside of the building.



According to Chris Mars, casting Jason for the video was Britney's idea, and he also revealed that he was hesitant about it, since he considered that a real actor would do a better job. He told USA Today: "When you're doing nudity, I don't think it was at the top of Britney's list to bring in some random guy while her boyfriend watches. [...] We definitely wanted to make some passionate, steamy scenes, but we also wanted it to be intensely beautiful. We didn't want to go for raunchy. We wanted it to be sensual and steamy."



After images of Britney holding a gun replica during the filming of the video surfaced, a lot of controversy sparked in London for "promoting gun violence" after the riots that had occurred in England earlier that year. They wanted Britney to apologize for the video, but instead her team released a statement saying that "the video is a fantasy story featuring Britney's boyfriend, Jason Trawick, which literally plays out the lyrics of a song written three years before the riots ever happened."



Chris Mars commented about the controversy "Holding the gun became a controversial thing 'cause we filmed it in London, and they don't have a lot of gun use out there. That doesn't mean that there's no gun use, so I did find it really interesting. For me, the thing is, it blew me away that members of [the British] Parliament were speaking about this. One, because it's a music video, and two, because don't you guys have television shows out there that show crime? It's really strange to me. I don't understand why pop stars are put on such a high pedestal over other celebrities. Why do members of Parliament feel that they need to scrutinize her for having a gun, and 'She's in the public,' and 'She should know better,' and 'She's a role model,' but what about every other celebrity out there? What about every other actor? That's very strange to me. I was really surprised at how much the gun use was scrutinized. Jason plays a professional criminal, so it makes sense he has a gun. We shouldn't censor ourselves."


The video received mostly positive reviews, some finding the scenes of physical abuse surprising  and her acting a bit stiff, but she also received comments such as "We can't honestly remember the last time Britney Spears looked so gorgeous in a music video" and deemed it as the best video from Femme Fatale."


Upon its release, the video was flagged on YouTube, and only registered people above 18 years old were able to watch it. This hugely affected its performance in views compared to the previous Femme Fatale videos, which had been rapidly become the most watched videos on her channel. It wasn't until 2013 that the flag was removed, and it started to slowly get more and more views.



Around 2016, it gained more popularity as a lot of fanfic videos of Harley Quinn and the Joker from the film Suicide Squad featured the song, and in recent years it went viral again due to a Tik Tok challenge. The video hit 100 million views in March 2019.







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 I am a performer. I am a Mom. I am funny. I am your friend! I am Britney Jean

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Loved the video and I loved the song! Yes i'm one of the people that voted for Criminal to be a single and you will all deal  Criminal is SO good, perfect 4th single!

On October 17, 2011, Britney Spears released the Criminal music video, the last single off Femme Fatale. It was directed by Chris Mars Piliero, who had previously directed I Wanna Go. The video w

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1 minute ago, LetsRoll said:

It's good song and beautiful video. But I wish there was different cut without the *** scenes :ipass_britney_xfactor_no_words:


I ******* loathe Kfed and I was never grossed out seeing Britney making out with him like I was with this video idk why :gross_britney_ew_sick_red_sunglasses_cringe_disgusted:

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You know a man holds a grudge and this was around the time Gaga, Beyoncé and Clowny started to fade on my radar because their fan bases got this video age restricted :lessons_preaching_telling_hand_smack: they were pressed she was still snatching weaves 13 years into her career :sipnstare_coffee_mug_tea_sipping_spilling_red:

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                🍻Intoxicate me, I’m a lush🍻

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