In 2007 Chris Crocker became one of the internet’s first viral stars, and one of its earliest victims. His heartfelt plea for people to “leave Britney alone,” with mascara streaks running down his face, is a trademark in popular culture and of YouTube’s younger years.
Ten years later, Chris Crocker took to social media to share some advice and some backstory behind the video that went viral before the age of memes. On his Instagram, Crocker advises young people on the internet to be careful what they post online and to not worry about what others think. “Let the haters kick fuckin’ rocks, man,” he says.
He also posted a clip of the infamous video with a long message describing some of the backlash he faced online as a young gay man. “The internet and YouTube was a very different, less LGBT friendly place at the time,” Crocker writes. “Nothing I said in the video was listened to. I was mocked for my femininity. I was called every gay slur in the book.”
Since the video, Crocker has made a life as an internet celebrity, cut off all his hair, modeled for American Apparel, was the subject of the documentary “Me At The Zoo,” did some porn, and released music. He still frequently shares video updates of his life online. The 29-year-old has come a long way from the struggles he faced at 19, when he says his mother battled homelessness and addiction, and the ridicule of the internet.
Crocker ends his note on Instagram by saying that he doesn’t regret posting the video. “Even if I got a public beating for standing up for what's right: I’m happy I did,” he writes. And, of course, he writes that he’ll always love Britney.