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Chris Crocker
Chris Crocker.jpg
Background information
Born December 7, 1987 (1987-12-07) (age 22)
Nationality American
Web alias(es) Chris Crocker
Period active 2006–present[1][2]
Host service(s) YouTube, MySpaceTV.com, ShareNow
Genre(s) Comedy,
Performance art[2][3]
Subjects LGBT and youth issues
Meme "Leave britney alone!"
September 10, 2007
Official site www.MySpace.com/ChrisCrocker
www.YouTube.com/ItsChrisCrocker

Chris Crocker (born December 7, 1987)[4] is an American internet celebrity. Crocker gained international fame in September 2007 from his viral video Leave Britney Alone tearfully defending pop singer Britney Spears's comeback performance at the MTV Video Music Awards; his video had over four million views in two days.[5] The video received international media attention, hundreds of parodies and criticism for Crocker.[6][7][8][9][10][11] He is a self-described "edutainer" who produces and acts in multiple transgressive videos.[1][2][12][13] In almost all of Crocker's work he presents himself as an openly gay and effeminate Southern adolescent in a "small-minded town" in the Bible Belt where his sexual orientation and outspokenness are a "subtext... rarely addressed directly and never completely accepted."[1][12] The Tennessee-based Crocker, a stage name, keeps his identity and exact location private because according to him, and as seen in the public comments to his work, there are safety concerns and death threats in response to his YouTube and MySpace video blogs and profile.[1][14][15][16][17] According to his MySpace profile, Crocker lives in Los Angeles as of January 2008.[18]

His work consists mainly of short-form self-directed "monologues about life" shot in his grandparents' home.[19] As of May 2009, Crocker's videos have received a combined 49.5 million plays on MySpace, and his vlog channel on YouTube is the 18th most viewed of all time in all categories, with over 153 million views.[20][21] Crocker's detractors and critics have accused him of narcissism, melodramatics, histrionics, and using Spears' personal shortcomings to bolster his own fame.[10][22][23][24][25] Others have accused Crocker of acting in the Leave Britney Alone video, although he insisted it was genuine on a September 2007 appearance on Maury Povich's Maury show.[17][26][27]

Contents

Early life

Crocker was born in Eastern Tennessee to a teenage couple and was raised by his grandparents.[19] Crocker said he "raised eyebrows" by bringing Barbie dolls to kindergarten for show and tell rather than the toys or action figures usually associated with boys.[19] He lived in Eastern Tennessee and was homeschooled in response to constant "death threats, bullying and glares at his clothes and makeup".[1][18][19] Specifically after allegedly being "harassed by a homophobic high school gym coach".[14]

Crocker lived with his fundamentalist[28] Pentecostal grandparents who continued raising him when his teenage parents were not able; while his grandfather reportedly knows little about his Internet fame, his grandmother has reluctantly appeared in some of his videos.[1][19][29]

Career

Crocker's uncensored and "unfiltered" work has been attributed to his isolation as an "effeminate, Southern, flamboyantly gay" adolescent in a "small-minded town" in the Bible Belt.[1] His sexual orientation and outspokenness have been described as a "subtext... rarely addressed directly and never completely accepted" in his hometown.[1] According to Crocker, when his grandmother found out that he was gay, she initially "said that [he] needed an exorcism".[1] Crocker, who laments his town's lack of gay culture, said, "The only gay pride parade where I live is in my bedroom" as he held up a rainbow frosted cupcake.[30] He added, "We don't have pride and rainbows here. We have MySpace. We don't have bathhouses, we have outhouses."[31]

Crocker's earliest experience with online networking was as an editor of an e-zine, where he met his first boyfriend, with whom he only was able to interact online and by phone. Crocker later found another online forum, where his acting skills helped him blend in on a free phone party line run out of Los Angeles "filled with flaming black men, black drag queens, and trannies from Compton", where he was outed as white and dubbed "Cracker".[1] In June 2006, after years of experience on the Internet, Crocker started uploading self-produced videos, characterized as his "singularly bizarre and angry take on gay life and his intolerant town".[1]

Building a following

Although his chart-topping video defending Britney Spears drew the attention of the wider public, Crocker had already become one of the most-watched video producers on MySpace and YouTube, having gathered what MSNBC described as a "cult following".[11][17][32] Prior to Crocker's defense of Spears, some of the more than sixty videos he had posted to the two social networking websites had already been viewed more than a million times each, and his YouTube channel was in the top rankings.[17] In May 2007, Crocker was the subject of a lengthy profile in the Seattle alternative weekly The Stranger.[1]

In addition to the Leave Britney Alone videos Crocker has produced and posted dozens of others with over fifty posted on both MySpace and YouTube although some are only posted on one site or the other, many becoming "viral video hits".[1] Some consider them to be bold and seething "flares sent up by a young gay man marooned in a sea of rednecks" who is stuck in a small town that "can't tolerate homosexuality and punishes flamboyance."[1] Crocker's videos include "sex-filled confessions" and "wild monologues" talking "about everything from AIDS to pubic hair."[1][17] In many of the videos he portrays characters, such as an older deeply religious woman in the "The Earl Annie Edna show" series and exaggerated comic characterizations of Southern stereotypes earning comparisons to Andy Kaufman and being called "an insidious satiric mastermind".[33][34]

In September 2007, "The Top (& Bottom) Gays of You Tube!", the first all-gay collaboration video by YouTube's most subscribed video bloggers, was posted by Michael Buckley ("What The Buck?!")[35] to create a "YouTube gay village."[36] Featuring Crocker in a heavily affected persona, William Sledd, and "Gay God" (Matthew Lush), the video consisted of each of the four bloggers commenting on the others' vlogging, with Buckley acting as host for the various outtakes.[36] Buckley remarked that Crocker is a unique talent and "one of the most creative video producers on YouTube."[36] Before the Leave Britney Alone video aired, Crocker's subscriber base had put him below the other collaborators' rankings in the 24th position in the all-time rankings for most channel subscribers (in all categories). As of May 2009, "What The Buck?!" is 8th, Crocker's channel, "It's Chris Crocker" is 27th, Sledd is 77th and "Gay God" is 100th.[37] These are all down from previously higher placements from February 2008 when "What The Buck?!" was 6th, Crocker's channel 8th, Sledd 13th and "Gay God" in 25th. As of October 2008, the video has been viewed over 1,017,500 times, with over 9,000 comments.[36]

Leave Britney Alone!

Crocker is best known for his Britney Spears videos, posted to YouTube in September 2007. The first part of the infamous work though was posted September 9, 2007 called Leave Britney Alone pt.1 to his MySpace page, while the better-known LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE! (part 2) was posted to both MySpace and YouTube. In Leave Britney Alone pt.1, an emotional Crocker stated that he did not want fellow Southerner[19] and gay icon Britney Spears[38] to spiral out of control like Anna Nicole Smith, who had died in February 2007. As of January 2009, the video had been viewed over 3.5 million times and has accumulated a total of nearly 500,000 comments.[39] It is just a few seconds shorter than the second part, and Crocker, although emotional, remains relatively calm and composed, becoming teary only at the very end.

Screen capture showing an upset Chris Crocker from his LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE! video

In the videos, Crocker lashes out at gossip columnists such as Perez Hilton, and at reality TV star Simon Cowell, who criticized Britney Spears' onstage music performance at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards in Las Vegas.[40][41][42][43] Within the first 24 hours of its posting, the video had accumulated over 2 million views.[17] As of January 2009, it has accumulated a total of 24 million views and is the second most discussed video of all time on the site (in all categories), with over 350,000 comments.[40][44] LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE! is one of YouTube's fastest "climbing" videos, reaching the minimum seven million views needed (as of September 2007) to be included in the "Top 100".[45] The video was nominated in the Commentary category in the 2007 YouTube Awards.[46] The video received worldwide attention and earned Crocker interviews on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, The Today Show, Maury, The Howard Stern Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Ryan Seacrest's KIIS-FM morning show. Crocker and his video were also commented on in the mainstream media by shows like The View and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.[17][47] YouTube said "the melodramatic two-minute clip made Crocker an instant YouTube star" and named it one of the top videos of 2007.[48] Wired magazine named it the top video of 2007.[49]

Although sometimes shown in conjunction with news footage of Spears' performance, the "pure performance art" video has become its own story, with the news media and gossip industry offering opinions on the phenomenon and even joking that Crocker could be "an insidious satiric mastermind" and compared him to Andy Kaufman.[10][33][50] In the video, Crocker proclaims, "All you people care about is readers and making money off of her. She's a human! Leave Britney alone!"[7][51][52] Crocker stated that although he is often acting in his videos, his emotions were genuine and "straight from the heart"; although he described the clip as a "second take" in one interview, he clarified on Jimmy Kimmel Live that he meant that it was the second part of a longer video, the first part being Leave Britney Alone pt. 1.[15][17][29][53]

The LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE! video became a satire target with parody videos as well as references in mainstream television spoofs, and films.[54] Actor Seth Green's parody, which included him applying eyeliner several times and promoting his show Robot Chicken, called for people to "leave Chris Crocker alone!"[3][55] Some video responses characterized Crocker as a drama queen and, Wired magazine noted, "sent world Schadenfreude levels zooming to heights unseen since the Fatty Arbuckle scandal."[49][56]

The January 2008 parody film Meet the Spartans used pop culture references and met with generally poor reviews; the Electronic Urban Report called Crocker's cameo the "film's funniest moment".[54][57] Both Crocker and the video were also parodied in the South Park episode "Canada on Strike" with a cartoon Crocker running around in a fight between various internet memes, telling them to "leave the others alone".[58][59] In March 2008, a "trance remix" dance single "Leave Britney Alone" was released on iTunes and other sites by "Double J" featuring quotes from Crocker's video.[60] On the Hannah Montana episode, "Welcome to the Bungle", when Lilly phones the journalists to tell them to leave Hannah alone, she accidentally shouts "Leave Britney alone!". Miley questions "Britney?" and Lily corrects herself by responding, "Oh, oh, sorry, my bad.. 'Leave Hannah alone!'".[61]

While numerous news and media outlets reported on the viral video, Fox News Channel's morning program Fox & Friends commentators questioned his gender and compared the fabric backdrop in his video to Osama Bin Laden's videos.[62][63][64] Crocker produced two response videos - Poor FOX "News".. and Rosie O'Donnell was right about FOX "News" (originally posted as "Dear Fox 'News'") - addressing what he characterized as biased treatment while he called Fox News the "Republican, conservative, homophobic channel".[65][66] Crocker's stated concerns were the commentators calling him a "she/he" and what he felt was their needless questioning of his gender instead of commenting on the content of his video.[65][66]

Onch promotional deal and lawsuit

In October 2007 TMZ.com reported that Crocker was being sued by Onch Movement Jewelry for 1 million dollars, for fraud and breach of contract and provided a copy of the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles.[67] Jewelry designer Nelson Chung, professionally known as Onch and a fan of Crocker, hired him as a celebrity spokesmodel for more than two days' worth of publicity work as well as appearance at World of Wonder’s Just Britney art show in exchange for airfare.[68] It was speculated by DMW Media that Crocker had no legal representative as the agreement seemed unbalanced.[69] Crocker did make appearances including at gay club Rage and the art show where he was interviewed by MTV showing artwork of him in homage to Spears.[70][71] Onch's YouTube channel also posted videos of appearances which were later removed.[72]

Mainstream media exposure

Prior to the attention from his September 2007 Leave Britney Alone video, Crocker was seen as viral and was asked by MTV pioneering vlogger and news staffer Matt Sunbulli to provide video for MTV's website which also broadcasts on MTV itself.[1][73][73] Crocker has indicated that he hopes to develop his acting career and has agreed to develop ideas for a TV show with Los Angeles producer Glenn Meehan and has met with representatives from MTV's gay-themed channel LOGO.[1][15] According to Variety, Crocker has signed a development deal with 44 Blue Productions to create a "docusoap" reality television show, which will be called Chris Crocker's 15 Minutes More.[74] Said Rasha Drachkovitch, the production company's co-founder: "It's going to pretty much be the Chris Crocker experience. We consider him a rebel character that people will find interesting. He's going to be a TV star."[32]

Post-meme career

Crocker performing with back-up dancers at gay disco club Ice in Hamtramck, Michigan in October 2007.

After the widespread recognition of Leave Britney Alone, Crocker has been involved in several projects. In a June 2007 autobiographical comic strip, where Crocker discusses future plans, he states, "I'm going to make the leap from living with my Pentecostal grandparents to living with drag queen roommates. I'm going to star in my own TV show. I'm going to make the leap from outhouses to bathhouses...to my very own house."[31] In October 2007, Crocker opened Fox Reality channel's "Reality Remix Really Awards".[75]

Crocker was one of Lily Allen's internet correspondents on the February 2008 premier episode of BBC's Lily Allen and Friends where he posed questions for the guest celebrities, in this case David Mitchell and later, Cuba Gooding, Jr.[76][77][78]

In an April 9, 2008 video blog Crocker announced he refused the television network's offer to star in his own show on the grounds that it would be censored.[79] Crocker was outraged and refused the deal and claimed he would continue to post his videos on YouTube.com in an effort to draw in more viewers to the video hosting web site."[79]

On May 23, 2008 rock band Weezer released a viral music video for their song "Pork and Beans" - "a natural anthem for the self-expression that’s been taking shape on YouTube" - which featured various mash-ups of viral videos and Youtube celebrities, including Crocker, all playing themselves.[80][81][82][83] On May 22, 2009 Crocker made a video showing a Grammy plaque that he received for his contribution to the band's video.

On July 25, 2008 Crocker posted a video, "www.MsChrisCrocker.Com", in which he states he is leaving YouTube citing issues of censorship from YouTube for removing him from the most viewed and talked about lists and excluding him from their events.[84] Despite this statement, he has since returned to using YouTube as a means for publishing videos.

In August 2008, Crocker was featured in a Sierra Mist commercial.[85]

In September 2008, Crocker released his debut single "Mind in the Gutter".[86] In March 2009, Crocker leaked an unreleased song entitled "Fell for the Enemy".[87]

On July 9, 2009 Crocker appeared on the Comedy Central show Tosh.0.[88]

Selected videography

Crocker has posted dozens of videos, often to both YouTube and Myspace and has sometimes also removed videos or renamed them. In 2008 he also launched his own website which also hosted his work. As of January 2009, he has 63 videos on his MySpace page and 72 on YouTube.[2][20]

  • This & that. was posted December 28, 2006 to Myspace and February 25, 2007 to YouTube.[89][90] Crocker's first video, where he starts very serenely then quickly escalates yelling "You wanna fight me?" in a menacing manner while revealing his scrawny chest belying the absurdity "that anyone would see this waify kid as a threat worthy of violence."[1] This has been interpreted as a "brilliant way of mocking his virtual haters" but can also be seen as a fantasy fight that he could only win in a virtual world because of his obvious diminutive stature.[1] The video was hosted on Salon.com and remains one of his most popular with over 3.9 million views and over 30,000 comments as of May 2009.[17][89][90]
  • Bitch, please! was posted December 29, 2006 to MySpace and February 25, 2007 to YouTube.[91][92] One of Crocker's first videos to receive over a million viewers showed Crocker's self-assuredness as he offers increasingly angry versions of the phrase Bitch, please "complete with hair flips, bared teeth, and hand gestures."[1][17] The video has had over five million views and nearly 30,000 comments as of June 2008.[91][92]
  • Watch it. was posted January 24, 2007 to Myspace.[93] One of Crocker's shortest videos at just 1:25 minutes features him dancing erotically and provocatively to Nivea's "Watch It". The video has over 1.4 million views and nearly 7,000 comments as of March 2008.[93] Likewise Chris Crocker is Damaged!, posted March 4, 2008 to YouTube, shows him dancing to Danity Kane's "Damaged" and has nearly 2.8 million views and over 34,000 comments as of June 2008.[94][95]
  • Why I'm Gay.. was posted August 10, 2007 to both YouTube and MySpace.[96][97] Crocker discusses why he has no need to "come out" of the closet as gay. The video was hosted on Salon.com and has had over 1.2 million views and nearly 12,000 comments as of September 2007.[17][96][97]
  • Kids SHOULD Cuss was posted August 23, 2007 to YouTube.[98] Crocker discusses language and the use of curse words like fuck asking "why is shit more profane than poop?" He ties the discussion to free speech and encourages everyone to use swear words and teach them to children to ensure freedom of speech is assured. The video was hosted on Salon.com and has had over 427,000 views as of September 2007, it was subsequently removed by Crocker.[17][98]
  • Back up, Britney haters! was posted September 1, 2007 to YouTube.[99] Crocker's first major departure from describing his gay life in a Bible Belt town and instead on Britney Spears which he thought would be poorly received by his fans.[17] From a floor covered in Spears-related magazines and memorabilia Crocker asserts he is "a real Britney fan".[17] The video has over two million views as of March 2008.[99]
  • Britney, this is for you was posted September 3, 2007 to YouTube.[100] Crocker pays homage to Spears' recently released single Gimme More. Just two days after his first video about Spears this precedes his most known video Leave Britney Alone by eight days. The video has been viewed over 4.1 million times and received over 55,000 comments as of January 2008.[100]
  • Watch Chris Crocker blink. originally titled Best video EVER! was posted March 17, 2008 to YouTube.[95][101][102] One of the shortest viral videos - at less than five seconds long - and likely the shortest one Crocker has ever posted shows a close-up of just his face as he smiles into the camera and blinks twice.[101] The "unwitting Andy Warhol homage" (see 15 minutes of fame) was explained by Crocker that he need only "blink to get the video views I do."[101][102][103] The video was viewed over a million times in the first two days and nearly 5.7 million times and received over 59,000 comments as of December 2008.[101][102]

Discography

Singles

See also

References

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  52. ^ Sankey, Daniel (September 12, 2007). "Leave Britney alone!". The Age. http://www.theage.com.au/news/people/leave-britney-alone/2007/09/12/1189276804214.html. Retrieved 2007-09-13. 
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  56. ^ Moses, Asher (September 20, 2007). "Britney drama queen inks TV deal". Sydney Morning Herald. http://www.smh.com.au/news/web/britney-drama-queen-inks-tv-deal/2007/09/20/1189881661178.html. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
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  64. ^ lacohenga, Connor (September 13, 2007). "Chris Crocker on FOX News". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KexjIWy5NE. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  65. ^ a b Jones, Anthony (September 14, 2007). "Poor FOX "News"..". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbdJcIG2YpM. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  66. ^ a b Crocker, Chris (September 17, 2007). "Rosie O'Donnell was right about FOX "News"". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQMR85Ak02Q. Retrieved 2007-09-17. 
  67. ^ Hack Chris Crocker Sued for Fraud - TMZ.com - Entertainment News, Celebrity Gossip and Hollywood Rumors
  68. ^ Malkin, Marc (2007-09-24). ""Leave Britney Alone" Heads West". E Online. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. http://web.archive.org/web/20071012132147/http://eonline.com/gossip/planetgossip/detail/index.jsp?uuid=289c810a-efcf-4fbe-9938-d34b9002c4b1. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  69. ^ Goldberg, Scott (2007-10-05). "Jewelry Company Sues Chris Crocker for Fraud". DMW Media. http://www.dmwmedia.com/news/2007/10/05/jewelry-company-sues-chris-crocker-for-fraud. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  70. ^ Movement, Onch (2007-09-23). "EXCLUSIVE Onch Movement Presents Chris Crocker at RAGE in LA". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WoMNohzbvA&NR=1. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  71. ^ Carroll, Larry (2007-10-11). "Britney Spears' Highs And Lows Blown Up For Hollywood Art Show". MTV. http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1571616/20071010/id_0.jhtml. Retrieved 2007-10-11. 
  72. ^ Movement, Onch (2007-09-19). "Chris Crocker wearing Onch Movement Pink Razor - Gay Army". YouTube. http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:joMZYEkIgb4J:www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DCnlJ74omsD8+Onch+crocker&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=3&gl=us. Retrieved 2007-10-07.  Link too recent for internet archiving use.
  73. ^ a b Gannes, Liz (January 26, 2007). "The Deal with MTV’s First Videoblog". NewTeeVee. http://newteevee.com/2007/01/26/the-deal-with-mtvs-first-videoblog/. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  74. ^ Azzopardi, Chris (2007-10-04). "15 Minutes ... More; Chris Crocker can't make pizza. But he's cooked up a smart way to super stardom: Defending Britney". PrideSource.com. http://www.pridesource.com/article.shtml?article=27184. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  75. ^ "Fox Reality Really Awards: Charm School Rap (Crocker introduces the first act". Fox Reality. 2007. http://really.foxreality.com/2007/channels.html. Retrieved 2009-01-18. 
  76. ^ "Lily Allen and Friends (Premier - February 12, 2008)". [Allen and Friends]. February 12, 2008. No. 1, season 1.
  77. ^ "David Mitchell: Confirmed for Show One - Feb 12, 10:30pm on BBC Three". BBC. 2008. http://www.bbc.co.uk/lilyallen/celeb_davidmitchell.shtml. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  78. ^ "Cuba Gooding Jr.: Confirmed for Show One - Feb 12, 10:30pm on BBC Three". BBC. 2008. http://www.bbc.co.uk/lilyallen/celeb_cubagooding.shtml. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  79. ^ a b Crocker, Chris (2008-04-09). "Chris Crocker Tells All". YouTube. http://youtube.com/watch?v=p48f0ZLQn9w. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  80. ^ "Spot the memes in Weezer's Pork and Beans". News Limited. 2008-05-28. http://www.news.com.au/technology/story/0,25642,23772877-5014108,00.html. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  81. ^ Sarno, David (2008-05-30). "Mathew Cullen, director of Weezer's 'Pork and Beans,' shares some secrets". Los Angeles Times. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/webscout/2008/05/some-more-notes.html. Retrieved 2008-05-30. 
  82. ^ Snider, Mike (2008-05-29). "YouTube stars, Weezer dine out on 'Pork & Beans'". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/news/2008-05-28-weezer-youtube-pork-beans_N.htm. Retrieved 2008-05-29. 
  83. ^ "The Man Behind the Memes: An Exclusive Interview With Weezer ‘Pork and Beans’ Video Director Mathew Cullen". MTV. May 30, 2008. http://buzzworthy.mtv.com/2008/05/30/the-man-behind-the-memes-an-exclusive-interview-with-weezer-pork-and-beans-video-director-mathew-cullen/#more-2778. Retrieved 2008-06-22. 
  84. ^ "YouTube - Broadcast Yourself". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cb5KydkJp4. 
  85. ^ "YouTube - Chris Crocker's Sierra Mist Commercial". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAs4ADPxknM. 
  86. ^ "YouTube - Chris Crocker - Illegal Downloading". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5RGEwuN5I8. 
  87. ^ "YouTube - CHRIS CROCKER - "Fell for the Enemy"". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHfqASJmFH0. 
  88. ^ "Web Redemption - Chris Crocker Tosh.0 Comedy Central". http://www.comedycentral.com/videos/index.jhtml?videoId=233321&title=web-redemption-chris-crocker. 
  89. ^ a b Crocker, Chris (December 28, 2006). "This & that.". MySpace. http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=4841862. Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
  90. ^ a b Crocker, Chris (February 25, 2007). "Chris Crocker - This & that.". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrQX2Dhrl8I. Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
  91. ^ a b Crocker, Chris (December 29, 2006). "Bitch, please!". MySpace. http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=4848648. Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
  92. ^ a b Crocker, Chris (February 25, 2007). "Chris Crocker - Bitch, please!". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6Bqf23u-40. Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
  93. ^ a b Crocker, Chris (January 24, 2007). "Watch it.". MySpace. http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=5553691. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  94. ^ Crocker, Chris (March 4, 2008). "Chris Crocker is Damaged!". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXiouCrEnG0. Retrieved 2008-06-22. 
  95. ^ a b Sevits, Matt (April 17, 2008). "I Don't Know Why I Love Chris Crocker". Daily Emerald. http://media.www.dailyemerald.com/media/storage/paper859/news/2008/04/17/Pulse/I.Dont.Know.Why.I.Love.Chris.Crocker-3330671.shtml. Retrieved 2008-06-22. 
  96. ^ a b Crocker, Chris (August 10, 2007). "Chris Crocker - Why I'm Gay..". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1VB3oNEEHI. Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
  97. ^ a b Crocker, Chris (August 10, 2007). "Why I'm Gay.". MySpace. http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=15500315. Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
  98. ^ a b Crocker, Chris (August 23, 2007). "Chris Crocker - Kids SHOULD cuss!". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DuiRs09wz0. Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
  99. ^ a b Crocker, Chris (September 1, 2007). "Chris Crocker - Back up, Britney haters!". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dohJmVKcgQM. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  100. ^ a b Crocker, Chris (September 3, 2007). "Chris Crocker - Britney, this is for you". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h863nXDqCM0. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  101. ^ a b c Popkin, Helen A.S. (March 24, 2008). "Don't Cry for Chris Crocker: The 'Leave Britney Alone' Guy Isn’t Fretting His YouTube Awards Loss". MSNBC. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23748983/. Retrieved 2008-06-22. 

External links


Chris Crocker
File:Chris
Born December 7, 1987 (1987-12-07) (age 23)
Nationality American
Years active 2006–present[1][2]
Known for Comedy,
Performance art[2][3], LGBT and youth issues
Internet information
Web alias(es) Chris Crocker
Web hosting service(s) YouTube, MySpaceTV.com, ShareNow
Meme "Leave britney alone!"
September 10, 2007
Website
www.MySpace.com/ChrisCrocker
www.YouTube.com/ItsChrisCrocker
www.ClawsAndAll.tumblr.com

Chris Crocker (born December 7, 1987)[4] is an American Internet celebrity, occasional blogger, and occasional recording artist. Crocker gained international fame in September 2007 from his viral video "Leave Britney Alone", in which he tearfully defends pop singer Britney Spears's comeback performance at the MTV Video Music Awards; his video had over four million views in two days.[5] The video received international media attention, hundreds of parodies and criticism for Crocker.[6][7][8][9][10][11]

He is a self-described "edutainer" who produces and acts in multiple transgressive videos.[1][2][12][13] In almost all of Crocker's work he presents himself as an openly gay and effeminate Southern adolescent in a "small-minded town" in the Bible Belt where his sexual orientation and outspokenness are a "subtext... rarely addressed directly and never completely accepted."[1][12] The Tennessee-based Crocker, a stage name, keeps his identity and exact location private because according to him, and as seen in the public comments to his work, there are safety concerns and death threats in response to his YouTube and MySpace video blogs and profile.[1][14][15][16][17] According to his MySpace profile, Crocker lives in Los Angeles as of January 2008.[18] As of May 2010, Crocker has returned home to Tennessee and solely travels to Los Angeles for business ventures.[19]

His work consists mainly of short-form self-directed monologues shot in his grandparents' home.[20] As of Oct 2010, Crocker's videos have received a combined 50 million plays on MySpace, and his vlog channel on YouTube is the 95th most viewed of all time in all categories, with over 202 million video views.[21][22] Crocker's detractors and critics have accused him of narcissism, melodramatics, histrionics, and using Spears' personal shortcomings to bolster his own fame.[10][23][24][25][26] Others have accused Crocker of acting in the "Leave Britney Alone" video, although he insisted it was genuine on a September 2007 appearance on Maury Povich's Maury show.[17][27][28]

Contents

Early life

Crocker was born in Eastern Tennessee to a teenage couple and was raised by his grandparents.[20] Crocker said he "raised eyebrows" by bringing Barbie dolls to kindergarten for show and tell rather than the toys or action figures usually associated with boys.[20] He lived in Eastern Tennessee and was homeschooled in response to constant "death threats, bullying and glares at his clothes and makeup"[1][18][20] specifically after allegedly being "harassed by a homophobic high school gym coach".[14] At the age of 22, Crocker claims to not have obtained a driver's license.[29] Crocker lived with his fundamentalist[30] Pentecostal grandparents who continued raising him when his teenage parents were not able; while his grandfather reportedly knows little about his Internet fame, his grandmother has reluctantly appeared in some of his videos.[1][20][31]

Career

Crocker's uncensored and "unfiltered" work has been attributed to his isolation as an "effeminate, Southern, flamboyantly gay" adolescent in a "small-minded town" in the Bible Belt.[1] His sexual orientation and outspokenness have been described as a "subtext... rarely addressed directly and never completely accepted" in his hometown.[1] According to Crocker, when his grandmother found out that he was gay, she initially "said that [he] needed an exorcism".[1] Crocker, who laments his town's lack of gay culture, said, "The only gay pride parade where I live is in my bedroom" as he held up a rainbow frosted cupcake.[32] He added, "We don't have pride and rainbows here. We have MySpace. We don't have bathhouses, we have outhouses."[33]

Crocker's earliest experience with online networking was as an editor of an e-zine, where he met his first boyfriend, with whom he only was able to interact online and by phone. Crocker later found another online forum, where his acting skills helped him blend in on a free phone party line run out of Los Angeles "filled with flaming black men, black drag queens, and trannies from Compton", where he was outed as white and dubbed "Cracker".[1] In June 2006, after years of experience on the Internet, Crocker started uploading self-produced videos, characterized as his "singularly bizarre and angry take on gay life and his intolerant town".[1]

Building a following

Although his chart-topping video defending Britney Spears drew the attention of the wider public, Crocker had already become one of the most-watched video producers on MySpace and YouTube, having gathered what MSNBC described as a "cult following".[11][17][34] Prior to Crocker's defense of Spears, some of the more than sixty videos he had posted to the two social networking websites had already been viewed more than a million times each, and his YouTube channel was in the top rankings.[17] In May 2007, Crocker was the subject of a lengthy profile in the Seattle alternative weekly The Stranger.[1]

In addition to the "Leave Britney Alone" videos Crocker has produced and posted dozens of others with over fifty posted on both MySpace and YouTube, although some are only posted on one site or the other, many becoming "viral video hits".[1] Some consider them to be bold and seething "flares sent up by a young gay man marooned in a sea of rednecks" who is stuck in a small town that "can't tolerate homosexuality and punishes flamboyance."[1] Crocker's videos include "sex-filled confessions" and "wild monologues" talking "about everything from AIDS to pubic hair."[1][17] In many of the videos he portrays characters, such as an older deeply religious woman in the "The Earl Annie Edna show" series and exaggerated comic characterizations of Southern stereotypes earning comparisons to Andy Kaufman and being called "an insidious satiric mastermind".[35][36]

In September 2007, "The Top (& Bottom) Gays of You Tube!", the first all-gay collaboration video by YouTube's most subscribed video bloggers, was posted by Michael Buckley ("What The Buck?!")[37] to create a "YouTube gay village."[38] Featuring Crocker in a heavily affected persona, William Sledd, and "Gay God" (Matthew Lush), the video consisted of each of the four bloggers commenting on the others' vlogging, with Buckley acting as host for the various outtakes.[38] Buckley remarked that Crocker is a unique talent and "one of the most creative video producers on YouTube."[38] Before the "Leave Britney Alone" video aired, Crocker's subscriber base had put him below the other collaborators' rankings in the 24th position in the all-time rankings for most channel subscribers (in all categories). As of May 2009, "What The Buck?!" is 8th, Crocker's channel, "It's Chris Crocker" is 27th, Sledd is 77th and "Gay God" is 100th.[39] These are all down from previously higher placements from February 2008 when "What The Buck?!" was 6th, Crocker's channel 8th, Sledd 13th and "Gay God" in 25th. As of October 2010, the video has been viewed over 1,170,000 times, with over 9,500 comments.[38]

"Leave Britney Alone!"

Crocker is best known for his Britney Spears videos, posted to YouTube in September 2007. The first part of the infamous work though was posted September 9, 2007 called "Leave Britney Alone pt.1" to his MySpace page, while the better-known "LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!" (part 2) was posted to both MySpace and YouTube. In "Leave Britney Alone pt.1", an emotional Crocker stated that he did not want fellow Southerner[20] and gay icon Britney Spears[40] to spiral out of control like Anna Nicole Smith, who had died in February 2007. As of January 2009, the video had been viewed over 3.5 million times and has accumulated a total of nearly 500,000 comments.[41] It is just a few seconds shorter than the second part, and Crocker, although emotional, remains relatively calm and composed, becoming teary only at the very end.

In the videos, Crocker lashes out at gossip columnists such as Perez Hilton, and at reality TV star Simon Cowell, who criticized Britney Spears' onstage music performance at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards in Las Vegas.[42][43][44][45] Within the first 24 hours of its posting, the video had accumulated over 2 million views.[17] As of January 2009, it has accumulated a total of 24 million views and is the second most discussed video of all time on the site (in all categories), with over 350,000 comments.[42][46] "LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!" is one of YouTube's fastest "climbing" videos, reaching the minimum seven million views needed (as of September 2007) to be included in the "Top 100".[47] The video was nominated in the Commentary category in the 2007 YouTube Awards.[48] The video received worldwide attention and earned Crocker interviews on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, The Today Show, Maury, The Howard Stern Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Ryan Seacrest's KIIS-FM morning show. Crocker and his video were also commented on in the mainstream media by shows like The View and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.[17][49] YouTube said "the melodramatic two-minute clip made Crocker an instant YouTube star" and named it one of the top videos of 2007.[50] Wired magazine named it the top video of 2007.[51]

Although sometimes shown in conjunction with news footage of Spears' performance, the "pure performance art" video has become its own story, with the news media and gossip industry offering opinions on the phenomenon and even joking that Crocker could be "an insidious satiric mastermind" and compared him to Andy Kaufman.[10][35][52] In the video, Crocker proclaims, "All you people care about is readers and making money off of her. She's a human! Leave Britney alone!"[7][53][54] Crocker stated that although he is often acting in his videos, his emotions were genuine and "straight from the heart"; although he described the clip as a "second take" in one interview, he clarified on Jimmy Kimmel Live that he meant that it was the second part of a longer video, the first part being "Leave Britney Alone pt. 1".[15][17][31][55]

The "LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!" video became a satire target with parody videos as well as references in mainstream television spoofs, and films.[56] Actor Seth Green's parody, which included him applying eyeliner several times and promoting his show Robot Chicken, called for people to "leave Chris Crocker alone!"[3][57] Some video responses characterized Crocker as a drama queen and, Wired magazine noted, "sent world Schadenfreude levels zooming to heights unseen since the Fatty Arbuckle scandal."[51][58]

The January 2008 parody film Meet the Spartans used pop culture references and met with generally poor reviews; the Electronic Urban Report called Crocker's cameo the "film's funniest moment".[56][59] Both Crocker and the video were also parodied in the South Park episode "Canada on Strike" with a cartoon Crocker running around in a fight between various Internet memes, telling them to "leave the others alone".[60][61] In March 2008, a "trance remix" dance single "Leave Britney Alone" was released on iTunes and other sites by "Double J" featuring quotes from Crocker's video.[62] On the Hannah Montana episode, "Welcome to the Bungle", when Lilly phones the journalists to tell them to leave Hannah alone, she accidentally shouts "Leave Britney alone!". Miley questions "Britney?" and Lilly corrects herself by responding, "Oh, oh, sorry, my bad.. 'Leave Hannah alone!'".[63]

While numerous news and media outlets reported on the viral video, Fox News Channel's morning program Fox & Friends commentators questioned his gender and compared the fabric backdrop in his video to Osama Bin Laden's videos.[64][65][66] Crocker produced two response videos - Poor FOX "News".. and Rosie O'Donnell was right about FOX "News" (originally posted as "Dear Fox 'News'") - addressing what he characterized as biased treatment while he called Fox News the "Republican, conservative, homophobic channel".[67][68] Crocker's stated concerns were the commentators calling him a "she/he" and what he felt was their needless questioning of his gender instead of commenting on the content of his video.[67][68]

Onch promotional deal and lawsuit

In October 2007 TMZ.com reported that Crocker was being sued by Onch Movement Jewelry for 1 million dollars, for fraud and breach of contract and provided a copy of the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles.[69] Jewelry designer Nelson Chung, professionally known as Onch and a fan of Crocker, hired him as a celebrity spokesmodel for more than two days' worth of publicity work as well as appearance at World of Wonder's Just Britney art show in exchange for airfare.[70] It was speculated by DMW Media that Crocker had no legal representative as the agreement seemed unbalanced.[71] Crocker did make appearances including at gay club Rage and the art show where he was interviewed by MTV showing artwork of him in homage to Spears.[72][73] Onch's YouTube channel also posted videos of appearances which were later removed.[74]

Mainstream media exposure

Prior to the attention from his September 2007 Leave Britney Alone video, Crocker was seen as viral and was asked by MTV pioneering vlogger and news staffer Matt Sunbulli to provide video for MTV's website which also broadcasts on MTV itself.[1][75][75] Crocker has indicated that he hopes to develop his acting career and has agreed to develop ideas for a TV show with Los Angeles producer Glenn Meehan and has met with representatives from MTV's gay-themed channel LOGO.[1][15] According to Variety, Crocker has signed a development deal with 44 Blue Productions to create a "docusoap" reality television show, which will be called Chris Crocker's 15 Minutes More.[76] Said Rasha Drachkovitch, the production company's co-founder: "It's going to pretty much be the Chris Crocker experience. We consider him a rebel character that people will find interesting. He's going to be a TV star."[34]

Post-meme career

in October 2007.]]

After the widespread recognition of Leave Britney Alone, Crocker has been involved in several projects. In a June 2007 autobiographical comic strip, where Crocker discusses future plans, he states, "I'm going to make the leap from living with my Pentecostal grandparents to living with drag queen roommates. I'm going to star in my own TV show. I'm going to make the leap from outhouses to bathhouses...to my very own house."[33] In October 2007, Crocker opened Fox Reality channel's "Reality Remix Really Awards".[77]

Crocker was one of Lily Allen's Internet correspondents on the February 2008 premier episode of BBC's Lily Allen and Friends where he posed questions for the guest celebrities, in this case David Mitchell and later, Cuba Gooding, Jr.[78][79][80]

In an April 9, 2008 video blog Crocker announced he refused the television network's offer to star in his own show on the grounds that it would be censored.[81] Crocker was outraged and refused the deal and claimed he would continue to post his videos on YouTube.com in an effort to draw in more viewers to the video hosting web site."[81]

On May 23, 2008 rock band Weezer released a viral music video for their song "Pork and Beans" - "a natural anthem for the self-expression that's been taking shape on YouTube" - which featured various mash-ups of viral videos and Youtube celebrities, including Crocker, all playing themselves.[82][83][84][85] On May 22, 2009 Crocker made a video showing a Grammy plaque that he received for his contribution to the band's video.

On July 25, 2008 Crocker posted a video, "www.MsChrisCrocker.Com", in which he states he is leaving YouTube citing issues of censorship from YouTube for removing him from the most viewed and talked about lists and excluding him from their events.[86] Despite this statement, he has since returned to using YouTube as a means for publishing videos.

In August 2008, Crocker was featured in a Sierra Mist commercial.[87]

In September 2008, Crocker released his debut single "Mind in the Gutter".[88] In March 2009, Crocker leaked an unreleased song entitled "Fell for the Enemy".[89]

On August 29, 2010, Crocker announced via a You Tube video, titled "Me 2 u. [A lil' update]" that he will be "self releasing" his own album in 2011. However, recording will take place in 2010.[90]


On July 9, 2009 Crocker appeared on the Comedy Central show Tosh.0.[91]

Selected videography

Crocker has posted dozens of videos, often to both YouTube and Myspace and has sometimes also removed videos or renamed them. In 2008 he also launched his own website which also hosted his work. As of October 2010, he has 63 videos on his MySpace page and 246 on YouTube.[2][21]

  • "This & that." was posted December 28, 2006 to Myspace and February 25, 2007 to YouTube.[92][93] Crocker's first video, where he starts very serenely then quickly escalates yelling "You wanna fight me?" in a menacing manner while revealing his scrawny chest belying the absurdity "that anyone would see this waify kid as a threat worthy of violence."[1] This has been interpreted as a "brilliant way of mocking his virtual haters" but can also be seen as a fantasy fight that he could only win in a virtual world because of his obvious diminutive stature.[1] The video was hosted on Salon.com and remains one of his most popular with over 3.9 million views and over 30,000 comments as of May 2009.[17][92][93]
  • "Bitch, please!" was posted December 29, 2006 to MySpace and February 25, 2007 to YouTube.[94][95] One of Crocker's first videos to receive over a million viewers showed Crocker's self-assuredness as he offers increasingly angry versions of the phrase Bitch, please "complete with hair flips, bared teeth, and hand gestures."[1][17] The video has had over five million views and nearly 30,000 comments as of June 2008.[94][95]
  • "Watch it." was posted January 24, 2007 to Myspace.[96] One of Crocker's shortest videos at just 1:25 minutes features him dancing erotically and provocatively to Nivea's "Watch It". The video has over 1.4 million views and nearly 7,000 comments as of March 2008.[96] Likewise "Chris Crocker is Damaged!", posted March 4, 2008 to YouTube, shows him dancing to Danity Kane's "Damaged" and has nearly 2.8 million views and over 34,000 comments as of June 2008.[97][98]
  • "Why I'm Gay.." was posted August 10, 2007 to both YouTube and MySpace.[99][100] Crocker discusses why he has no need to "come out" of the closet as gay. The video was hosted on Salon.com and has had over 1.2 million views and nearly 12,000 comments as of September 2007.[17][99][100]
  • "Kids SHOULD Cuss" was posted August 23, 2007 to YouTube.[101] Crocker discusses language and the use of curse words like fuck asking "why is shit more profane than poop?" He ties the discussion to free speech and encourages everyone to use swear words and teach them to children to ensure freedom of speech is assured. The video was hosted on Salon.com and has had over 427,000 views as of September 2007, it was subsequently removed by Crocker.[17][101]
  • "Back up, Britney haters!" was posted September 1, 2007 to YouTube.[102] Crocker's first major departure from describing his gay life in a Bible Belt town and instead on Britney Spears which he thought would be poorly received by his fans.[17] From a floor covered in Spears-related magazines and memorabilia Crocker asserts he is "a real Britney fan".[17] The video has nearly 2.7 million views as of October 2010. [102]
  • "Britney, this is for you" was posted September 3, 2007 to YouTube.[103] Crocker pays homage to Spears' recently released single Gimme More. Just two days after his first video about Spears this precedes his most known video Leave Britney Alone by eight days. The video has been viewed over 4.1 million times and received over 55,000 comments as of January 2008.[103]
  • "Watch Chris Crocker blink." originally titled "Best video EVER!" was posted March 17, 2008 to YouTube.[98][104][105] One of the shortest viral videos - at less than five seconds long - and likely the shortest one Crocker has ever posted shows a close-up of just his face as he smiles into the camera and blinks twice.[104] The "unwitting Andy Warhol homage" (see 15 minutes of fame) was explained by Crocker that he need only "blink to get the video views I do."[104][105][106] The video was viewed over a million times in the first two days and nearly 6.8 million times and received over 69,000 comments as of October 2010.[104][105]

Discography

Studio albums

  • Turned On (unreleased)

Singles

See also

References

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  88. ^ "YouTube - Chris Crocker - Illegal Downloading". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5RGEwuN5I8. 
  89. ^ "YouTube - CHRIS CROCKER - "Fell for the Enemy"". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHfqASJmFH0. 
  90. ^ "YouTube - CHRIS CROCKER - "Me 2 u. [A lil' update ""]. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92NTXHBOT2M&feature=sub. 
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  96. ^ a b Crocker, Chris (January 24, 2007). "Watch it.". MySpace. http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=5553691. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
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  101. ^ a b Crocker, Chris (August 23, 2007). "Chris Crocker - Kids SHOULD cuss!". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DuiRs09wz0. Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
  102. ^ a b Crocker, Chris (September 1, 2007). "Chris Crocker - Back up, Britney haters!". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dohJmVKcgQM. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  103. ^ a b Crocker, Chris (September 3, 2007). "Chris Crocker - Britney, this is for you". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h863nXDqCM0. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  104. ^ a b c d Crocker, Chris (March 17, 2008). "Watch Chris Crocker blink.". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbr1EiIC2Ro. Retrieved 2008-12-22. 
  105. ^ a b c Popkin, Helen A.S. (March 24, 2008). "Don't Cry for Chris Crocker: The 'Leave Britney Alone' Guy Isn’t Fretting His YouTube Awards Loss". MSNBC. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23748983/. Retrieved 2008-06-22. 
  106. ^ http://twitter.com/ChrisCrocker/status/19772048671

External links

Achievements
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take180com
Most Subscribed Channel on YouTube
Ranked 82nd as of 2010
Succeeded by
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Preceded by
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Most Subscribed Director on YouTube
Ranked 25th as of 2010
Succeeded by
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