In the early aughts, the news was dominated by two people: President George W. Bush and pop star Britney Spears. In the era of the 24-hour news cycle, this may not feel significant to some, but there is an online stronghold of conspiracy theorists who believe Britney Spears was on the Bush administration's payroll.
It sounds wild, sure, but for nearly every scandal of the Bush administration, there was a huge Britney Spears event coinciding with it. Despite the fact that correlation does not equal causation, some argue the parallels between Britney Spears and George W. Bush are too blatant to ignore. Did she really decide to randomly shave her head the same day the president requested additional "aggressive forces" for the War on Terror? Did one of Britney Spears's hits just happen to drop as the Bush administration was scrambling to cover up the underlying chaos in Afghanistan? Some would argue that it was all on purpose.
Here is why some people believe in this bizarre Britney Spears celebrity conspiracy theory.
Date: September 6, 2001
At the 2001 MTV VMAs, Spears donned a python as she gave one of her most famous performances of "I'm a Slave 4 U." Of course, less than a week later, America had a national tragedy to deal with, and Spears dancing with a snake was no longer worth discussing.
Her single officially came out a few weeks later, and peaked at number 27, possibly due to the fact she was not as heavily featured in the news cycle as her PR team anticipated. It may sound outlandish, but some think this could have motivated Spears to partner up with the Bush administration in a sort of PR-trading treaty.
Date: February 16, 2002
President Bush announced a plan: 57 years' worth of radioactive waste from nuclear plants needed to be buried somewhere, and Bush said it should all go in the Nevada desert at Yucca Mountain.
Spears's film, Crossroads, also happened to hit theaters the day before. The movie was critically panned, but it still managed to make back its budget - and potentially distract people from Bush's plan to dump nuclear waste in the Nevada desert - all in one weekend.
Date: sometime in 2002
Karl Rove was the senior advisor and Chief of Staff for President Bush. In 2002, a rumor circulated that there was a liaison between Rove and Spears. While there are no corroborating sources, believers of the Spears/Bush conspiracy say Rove and Spears were spotted "mid-canoodle" while watching a Cirque du Soleil show in Rome.
Now, there's no definitive proof that anything of the sort actually happened, and the idea of the two of them does seem a bit far-fetched. Still, stranger things have happened in the realm of US politics.
Date: August 28, 2003
The Bush presidency was at a high point. March 2003 marked the beginning of the Iraq War, and only a couple of months later, President Bush gave the famous "Mission Accomplished" speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln.
It seemed the major fighting was over, and everything had gone according to plan. However, in the months that followed, it became apparent the mission was far from accomplished, and the conflict would continue. At the end of April, Bush's approval rating was at 70%, but by the beginning of September, it reached a new low for the year: 50%.
What's the best way to get people to ignore Bush's falling approval rating? Conspiracy theorists argue the infamous kiss between Spears and Madonna at the 2003 VMAs was the perfect distraction.