Wanna feel old? It’s been ten years since Chris Crocker sported some eyeliner and blond highlights and screamed “leave Britney alone” into a camera, in what would later become one of the most viral YouTube videos in the history of viral YouTube videos. Britney is, of course, Britney Spears, who was in the middle of an infamously rough patch back then. (If you haven’t seen it, start here. Then read this. And then this.) After several years and millions of views, Crocker deleted his YouTube channel in 2015, though he still posts regularly on Facebook and Instagram.
Earlier today, he shared a video in honor of the tenth anniversary of “Leave Britney Alone,” explaining the four lessons he’s learned since posting the video. He also posted a clip from the original video, explaining that when he posted it, he meant it to be “serious.” “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,” Crocker wrote. “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.” Ten years later, his advice includes “to not let the things people say about you online get to you,” and to remember the things you post online live forever.
Oh, and also, “let the haters kick fucking rocks.”