The internet was a much simpler place in 2007: Twitter was in its infancy, a little site called Tumblr had just launched, and a recently released movie called Bee Movie had yet to be turned into a viral memefest. Another 2007 landmark: in September, a Britney Spears superfan uploaded a video of himself valiantly, and tearfully, defending the then-slightly-more-relevant pop star from haters.
That year, Britney’s MTV VMA performance that year was widely derided by critics and viewers alike, when one emotional man named Chris Crocker uploaded a now-infamous two-part video to Youtube and Myspace (this was 2007, remember). In case you’ve forgotten, here’s the video:
“Leave Britney Alone!” racked up 2 million views in 24 hours, which was insane by 2007 YouTube viewing standards.
Now, a decade later, Crocker’s opened up about his motivations for posting the video. He explained that at the time, his personal struggles made him extremely defensive over a woman (and fellow Southerner) going through a hard time. As he correctly notes, the internet of 2007 was a less tolerant place, and for LGBTQ people in particular—a lot of the mockery he experienced in the aftermath of the video was had a markedly homophobic tone.
Crocker writes that he was “called every gay slur in the book” and mocked for his femininity (the always classy Fox and Friends called him a “she with an Adam’s apple”). A decade later, he’s still glad he stood up for Britney. Like “Leave Britney Alone!” or hate it, it was a watershed moment in the history of internet culture, and, as Crocker notes, he’ll always love Britney and he doesn’t care who knows it.
Read Crocker’s comments in full: