Chris Crocker, who became famous for their “Leave Britney Alone” viral video in 2007 has now sold the original video as an NFT in order to help fund their transition.
The video ended up being sold to an anonymous buyer for 18.69 ether, or around $41,000.
Crocker’s classic video, in which they tearfully and passionately defend Britney Spears from tabloids and paparazzi, was one of the first viral videos on YouTube. Although it made Crocker known across the country, they didn’t make any money from it.
“I felt like a lot of people might misconstrue why I wanted to sell it," Crocker told Business Insider. "But the real reason is because I felt like I took a lot of hits — you know, literal hits," they added, specifying that they received death threats and were “physically assaulted at gay clubs” because some in the community didn’t like Crocker representing them.
Before locking their Twitter account, Crocker said that they’d use the money from the sale to help their grandma and to help fund their transition. Crocker has talked about their gender in the past, but recently made an Instagram video clarifying things for fans.
“I do feel like a woman on the inside, but I do present aesthetically male,” Crocker says in the video about why they haven’t transitioned yet. “Many factors such as my surroundings, what I do for work (adult entertainment) & other things, are not ideal for me to transition UNTIL some situations change … I am however now in therapy and if I have to play the part of a male aesthetically until all my ducks are in a row.. I can do that,” they continued. Crocker has been doing adult videos, mostly through sites like OnlyFans, for some time now.
For now, they said they usually use “they/them” pronouns and don’t feel comfortable transitioning because they are already attacked for being gender nonconforming in Bristol, Tennessee, the small town they live in.
“And that's why I've always been scared to do the baby steps very slowly, because I was like, well, if I can't afford the full [transition], my safety is really gonna be a concern," they told Business Insider. "People are very backward, and I already stick out for being feminine. So I've always thought if I am going to do it and still be here and live around my family, I have to go, like, all the way."
NFTs, or non fungible tokens, are a new way of purchasing online art that uses blockchains to certify that a piece of digital art is unique and original and not a copy. They’re usually sold using cryptocurrency.
There are many skeptics though, as the amount of energy it takes to run the blockchains (coded digital ledgers that mark a digital piece as unique) that make NFTs work is large enough that they release dangerous levels of greenhouse gas and contribute to Global Climate Change.
Also, there’s the fact that as these are digital items — a copy of the art does not differ from the original in the same way that a print differs from a painting. With NFTs, the original and all copies are identical. You’re essentially paying extra money for a certificate that says your identical version is better than other identical versions.