Chris Crocker gained fame as a teenager in 2007 when his impassioned defense of pop star Britney Spears became one of YouTube’s first truly viral videos. Now, he’s looking to cash in on the video.
Crocker announced Sunday night that he was selling a version of his viral video “LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!” as a “non-fungible token” or NFT. As of early Monday afternoon, Crocker had received at least one bid worth more than $21,000 for his NFT.
Then a vlogger, Crocker uploaded “LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!” to YouTube on Sept. 10, 2007. In the video, Crocker tearfully criticizes tabloids and celebrity bloggers who slammed Spears’ performance at the 2007 VMAs, and the ongoing coverage of her personal life.
NFT of LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE is now up for sell! https://t.co/sY7i5Woyjx— Chris Crocker (@ChrisCrocker) April 12, 2021
In 2017, Rolling Stone reported that Crocker’s video garnered 2 million views the day it was posted to YouTube, quickly becoming one of the site’s most viewed videos at that time. He later discussed his video on shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live and Maury. His video has been spoofed hundreds of times on YouTube and on TV, including by the long-running show “South Park.”
Nearly 15 years later, “LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!” still has a life of its own. The video had racked up more than 40 million views before Crocker deleted his YouTube account in 2015, but there are several copies of the video still live on YouTube with millions of views.
The video also comes with new perspective, thanks to the #FreeBritney movement. Spears’ conservatorship fight, and the popularity of “Framing Britney Spears” — a New York Times documentary about the case — has led many to see her career in a new light.
Crocker’s video is just the latest item to be sold through the now-exploding NFT market.
NFTs are proof of ownership of pieces of digital media. The proof of ownership is tracked using blockchain technology — the same technology that gives value to cryptocurrency — which ensures the uniqueness and rarity of the asset. Owners of the NFT can then sell them to other investors, just like a piece of art.
In recent months, the NFT market has boomed in popularity. Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey minted the first-ever tweet as an NFT, netting him $2.9 million. Famous artists like Banksy have ventured into NFTs, and websites like the NBA Top Shot have brought the sports merchandising into the digital age.
Even Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady is venturing into NFTs with his own company.