Actor James Franco set the Internet ablaze last week after posting (and soon deleting) a nearly-**** selfie of himself.

The motive behind it? Britney Spears. Franco tells David Letterman Thursday night:

“Like that Britney Spears shaved head moment, where it’s sort of like, ‘All right, you want me? Here you can have me, but I am going to be really ugly.’ You know what I mean?” Franco said to Letterman about the attitude behind the now-infamous shot.

The audience laughed, but Franco insisted he was serious.

I understand what he means. It’s like… you love to watch and judge everything I do? Fine. Judge this!

Watch Franco’s full explanation below: