If you were alive in 2007 and had access to dial-up, an AOL account, or The Soup, you are probably familiar with Chris Crocker. Even if you don't remember his name, his impassioned chants of "LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE" became a cultural sensation and caused one of the earliest viral videos to cross over to the mainstream.
Let me bring you back to that unforgettable year in celebrity. Lindsay Lohan entered both jail and rehab for the first time, Anna Nicole Smith tragically died of a drug overdose, and the paparazzi reached a new peak of invasive tactics.
Out of every star in the public eye, however, Britney Spears was undoubtedly having the worst and most public year. By the end of 2007, Britney had shaved her head, lost custody of her kids to Kevin Federline, and bombed her performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. Amid the constant public scrutiny, Britney had one devoted defender who tried to deflect the scrutiny off his favorite star.
Hitting four million views in two days, Leave Britney Alone! became a touchstone for late night show hosts, comedians, and everyday jokesters to reference and parody. It was inescapable, and Chris Crocker became associated with his hysterical plea for the media to back off Britney's breakdown.
Much like Britney herself, Chris Crocker has come a long way since 2017. Here's what he's been up to for the last decade.
He's Still Commenting On The Questionable Performances Of Pop Divas
When you consider Britney's VMAs performance in light of some of the celebrity meltdowns we've seen in recent years — Ashley Simpson on SNL, Kanye walking off the stage during his Life of Pablo tour, and Mariah Carey's most recent New Year's Eve fiasco — it really wasn't all that bad. Luckily, Crocker is still there to keep it all in perspective for us. Check out his two cents on Mariah Carey in the video above.
He Considers Himself An 'Edutainer'
Leave Britney Alone! gave Crocker nationwide attention, and he has consistently made videos since then (and even before that). His videos focus on current events, social issues, and pop culture with Crocker talking to the camera in an informative but casual way.
- Angelina Jolie: Brad Pitt 'Is Terrified The Public Will Learn The Truth'
- The Kardashian Kween Is Back: Kim Finally Makes A Grand Return To Social Media & It's Everything
- Mariah Carey Feels All Kinds Of Emotions About 'Horrible New Year's Eve'
Despite receiving multiple death threats for his vocal support of LGBT issues, Crocker continues to speak out against homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of discrimination with completely unguarded ease. This has rocketed his YouTube channel to the top 100 most viewed vlog channels in all categories with over 205 million video views. With such a large audience, he focuses on educating while still being entertaining.
Documentary, Adult Film, And A Full-Length Album
Crocker also saw opportunity outside of social media. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, he commented on how Leave Britney Alone opened the door for way more opportunity:
"It gave me opportunities to show different parts of myself in different shows on Comedy Central. I’ve had a documentary on HBO, and I do music and stuff, so it’s definitely let me showcase other areas of myself. My new album title is More Than Three Words, which I think a lot of people think is, like, 'I love you' or something, but it’s actually me saying, 'I’m more than the ‘Leave Britney Alone!’ video.'”
In the past, he's also commented on how the video put him in a box that he needed to overcome. In addition to his music career and his documentary Me at the Zoo, Crocker has appeared in a couple pornographic films, one with his then-boyfriend Justin Dean. He was hoping that would extend to a website and reality show dealing with extending the fame of an internet celebrity, but that hasn't panned out yet.
A Fluid Gender Identity
I remember when Leave Britney Alone first landed on everyone's radar, and most people were discussing whether or not this fan was a man or a woman. Since then, people have been surprised by Crocker's more "masculine" appearance, and he has openly discussed identifying as a combination of both genders.
"Like I said, I know I would be 100 percent happy living as a girl. But it's a lot of work, and it's a lot of therapy you have to go through. And I'm willing to put in that work. Some people get a haircut. I change genders or gender aesthetics. I don't know that I'll ever be content just one way or another."
By the way, Crocker was calling for more fair treatment of Bruce Jenner in the media almost a year before his 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer, and he comments often on trans rights in his videos.
He Stands By His Original Message
Showing an impressive amount of self-awareness, Crocker understands why people find his fame-making video so hilarious. In the same interview with EW, he shows his humility while sticking by his message:
"I’m, like, super dramatic when I’m upset, so I could see why people thought that the video was funny or me trying to be funny because when I’m upset I’m funny. But I stand by the message of the video, which is really about feminism and defending a woman going through a hard time."
It may have reached viral status almost 10 years ago, but the climate of taking down celebrities is still alive and well. His highly-criticized video essentially boils down to "don't kick people while their down," and that definitely still holds true today. No matter your thoughts on Chris Crocker or Britney Spears, you've got to admit that we could all use a little more positivity in the world.
Be honest: Did you think Britney would make a comeback after 2007?