When Curtis Croft began broadcasting his life in micro-episodes on BattleCam, the access into the 50-year-old Oregon resident’s life seemed like an easy ticket to notoriety. Battlecam is extreme social media –a supercharged community where everyone is a broadcaster via their webcam.
Among the denizens of this world, launched in 2010 by FilmOn Networks, Croft stood out, with a rabid following and a willingness to engage in bizarre acts, even sustaining injury at times. Little did he know that his desire to share his life with the world would land him in the sights of law enforcement.
Rogue Area Drug Enforcement agents raided Croft’s property in the small town of Grants Pass in September after Google Earth images helped authorities track down the Internet star’s marijuana garden, in which he was allegedly growing more plants than he had authorization for. Huffington Post reports that Croft was caught with 94 pot plants, despite registration to grow only 30.
When I spoke to Curtis, the polarizing persona he puts on for Battlecam’s feed had drained away, revealing a polite, yet passionate man, with serious concerns about his safety thanks to the additional publicity foisted upon him since news of his arrest broke.
While Croft was reluctant to provide details that could be incriminating regarding his case, he did not try to downplay his culpability in the bust. (He was arraigned and released last week.)
“What they say happened is what happened,” he tells TVmix. “I did something I got in trouble for.”
What Croft can’t understand, however, is why his story seems to resonate outside of his regular following of Battlecam viewers.
“For some reason, [my story] went viral… for some reason, the Google [aspect] made it really weird. It’s in Russia and everywhere right now. I have no idea why it went this far. I looked at the computer this morning and my eyes went huge,” he says. The story has, as of this publication, has been run by the Time, FOX News, and the UK’s Daily Mail, among others.
Although he’s no shrinking violet, Croft does feel as though he’s been wronged by what he deems an “invasion of privacy” on the part of the investigating authorities, and says that his fans are quick to back him up.
“They’ve put my mom’s phone number and everything on the Internet,” he says, aghast at how far-reaching the dissemination of his personal information has gone. “The invasion is so bad. They show my garden and everything.”
Despite the incalculable stress the investigation seems to have put on Croft, who is currently back at home, he seems to find some solace in knowing that his BattleCam fans aren’t harboring any grudges over a few measly pot plants.
While he says his fans say he’s funny, he admits, “I don’t know if they look at me as a bad person or a good person.”
Among Battlecam users his exploits are legendary, and stints in the BattleCam house have sent him to the hospital. (Check out Ayyone vs. Croft (LIVE FIGHT) – BattleCam House as a prime example.)
However, regardless of their feelings about Croft’s persona, he says the community has banded together in support of him since the raid. “It seems as if Battlecam is a big family on there … They’re there for me, I’m there for them. I love BattleCam ’til the end.”
Despite the negative publicity, Croft says that he can still see the silver lining in what others might consider a dire situation.
“Bad publicity makes good publicity for anyone,” he says, laughing. ”Look at OJ — he got back in trouble again, like a moron, and it hit some of the biggest records in the media.”
Croft admits that, despite any positive publicity that might come out of his current situation, he was never trying to get himself involved in any kind trouble:
“Me, I’m going the right way in life. I’m trying to stay out of trouble; I just ended up in trouble from hanging around with the wrong people.”
More than fear for himself, Croft says that concern for his family grips him when he thinks about what might await him. Croft has likely felt this particular twinge before — less than two decades ago, when he was in his 20s, his then-girlfriend, Jennifer Pratt, was the victim of a vicious attack by fellow motorists while she was riding on the back of his motorcycle. The attackers, who have never been brought to justice, hit Jennifer in the head with a 2-by-4, putting her in a coma and causing permanent brain damage. While Jennifer bore the brunt of the attack, sources at the time claimed that the violence was aimed at Curtis, a known drug dealer, who had previously been charged with selling cocaine to a DEA agent. The crime has been a subject of the television show Unsolved Mysteries.
”I worry about my mom — she’s 81 — and my dog and my kids,” he says. “Those kinds of things have changed for me. If I lose them, life would be really horrible. That’s just a reality for me. All this is really serious. Life’s changed for me… Hopefully, things get better.” While his prospects are still unclear, at least his support system is solid: “I’ve got a lot of people behind me,” he says, proudly.
Despite his uncertain future and his detractors, Croft still has plenty of fighting spirit left in him yet: “Gotta remember, I’m a troll too,” he says. “So I’m always going to troll back.”
You can watch a collection of Curtis Croft’s BattleCam highlights here:
Watch Curtis Croft’s live BattleCam channel here.