One of the most iconic viral videos of the 00s has just been auctioned off as an NFT – Chris Crocker‘s instant-classic ‘Leave Britney Alone’ vid has been sold off after they became an overnight YouTube sensation way back in 2007, making them one of the platform’s first-ever viral creators.
With the help of Ryder Ripps, 33-year-old Crocker auctioned off the original video to an anonymous bidder for 18.6934 Ethereum, which works out to be around $51,000 AUD, making it officially a bigger seller than Ripps’ own audio sex tape with Azealia Banks.
Crocker plans to use the funds to help with their mother’s health care and potentially begin transitioning, after coming out as transgender in February, in an Instagram video.
My hope with this NFT bid ending tonight is to be able to help take care of my family & if I have enough funds, begin my transition.
— Chris Crocker (@ChrisCrocker) April 12, 2021
In an interview with Business Insider, Crocker said this was the first real money they’ve made from the video, which wasn’t monetised on Youtube and was originally posted on MySpace.
Sparked by the death of Anna Nicole Smith in February of the same year, Crocker’s two-part videos saw them defending Britney Spears from celeb gossip types like Perez Hilton and Simon Cowell, who had come for Britney over her 2007 MTV VMAs performance. Shot in front of their classic cream-coloured curtains backdrop, Crocker’s monologue about Britney Spears was labelled as hysterical at the time, earning Crocker a lot of negative attention themselves.
Crocker recently revisited the video on the Tamron Hall Show, reflecting on the world’s reaction to it now the topic of Britney’s conservatorship has been in the spotlight through the Free Britney movement and the recent New York Times doco, Framing Britney Spears.
“It’s not that I feel vindicated or anything,” they said.
“I’m just happy that the conversation seems to be going to a place where people are wondering why they didn’t listen to me in that video. It’s more always been to me just about if you see someone going through a hard time, be empathetic to that.
“I made that video right before the conservatorship happened, so I wouldn’t say I’m a part of the Free Britney movement, but I definitely support them in terms of, you know, I believe Britney should be free as an adult to be an adult.”
On their Instagram, Crocker also revealed the depth of transphobia and threats they’ve received over the 14 years since they released the video.
“When I said it, I had to fear for my life,” they wrote.
“Death threats were sent to my grandmother’s house.
“Maybe people reaching out to tell me ‘Chris, you were right’ would feel good, if I knew that people could unpack that the reason no one took me serious was because I was a gender-bending teenager and the reaction to me was transphobic.”