Ten years ago this week, Chris Crocker became famous for his tearful, mascara-streaked rant about Britney Spears and her humanity. “Leave Britney alone!” he famously wailed.
Shortly afterward, he became one of the first victims of internet fame, one of the first human memes of the social media era. Fortunately, it got better. Crocker has moved on with his life and learned from his experiences, and he’s here to share his wisdom with a new generation of teens.
On his Instagram account, Crocker marked the 10th anniversary of Leave Britney Alone by sharing four things he’s come to understand as an internet celebrity, including the most important lesson of all: “Let the haters kick fuckin’ rocks, man.”
Crocker also mentions some of the rough aspects of his teenage years, including his mom’s return from serving in Iraq and her subsequent addiction issues, that he didn’t feel he could talk about at the time.
Crocker also shared the old video, with some words about how much the web and society have changed over time.
10 years ago on this day, I defended my favorite pop star against the media. While I'm known to do comedy: This was the one video that I was serious in. That year, my mom was battling addiction & became homeless after serving for our country in Iraq. The struggles in my home life and family life made me defensive over any woman going through a hard time. The internet and YouTube was a very different, less LGBT friendly place at the time. Nothing I said in the video was listened to. I was mocked for my femininity. I was called every gay slur in the book. Talk show hosts questioned if I was a man or woman, after playing the clip. I knew there was no way people would take me serious. So I decided that I would play up to the joke everyone thought I was. Realizing that telling them about what had actually triggered my emotional reaction (What my mom was battling) wouldn't be of interest to anyone. So I gave them a cartoon of what they assumed I was, in my public appearances afterward. But the truth is and always was about standing up for someone and not standing idly by when you see someone being hurt by others. In the 10 years since this video- A lot of LGBT Youtubers are celebrated for who they are. I often wonder if I had started videos later, if I would've been treated differently. But what I will say is this: Even if I got a public beating for standing up for what's right: Im happy I did. And I'll always love @britneyspears ❤️
“The internet and YouTube was a very different, less LGBT friendly place at the time. Nothing I said in the video was listened to. I was mocked for my femininity. I was called every gay slur in the book. Talk show hosts questioned if I was a man or woman, after playing the clip. I knew there was no way people would take me serious.”
In the intervening decade, Crocker has been the subject of a documentary (“Me At The Zoo“), done porn, partied with Paris Hilton, made friends with RuPaul, and dropped his long hair for a tighter crop. (Please don’t tell him he “got hot, though.)
Basically, he knows what he’s talking about, and kids would do well to learn from his mistakes and successes.