The most divisive person on the internet isn’t Joe Rogan, or Hillary Clinton, or former President Trump, or Che Diaz from the Sex and the City reboot And Just Like That. It’s Meena, the elephant from the Sing franchise.
Voiced by singer Tori Kelly, Meena is one of the many anthropomorphized animal contestants who enter an American Idol-like singing competition in the 2016 movie Sing (she also appears in the sequel, Sing 2, which opened in theaters last year). In the film, Meena is a shy young woman bursting with vocal talent who finally develops the confidence to participate in the show. But over the past few weeks, she’s become one of the most widely reviled figures on TikTok, namely because of a scene in which she sings “Happy Birthday” in a rather extra fashion.
After a clip of the scene captioned “NO BECAUSE SHE WAS MAD EXTRA FOR SINGING HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIKE THAT LIKE SHUT UP IT’S LITERALLY JUST A BIRTHDAY SONG” went viral on TikTok, people started making videos accusing Meena of being a Pick Me and fishing for compliments about her singing. Others showed Meena undergoing various forms of torture, such as one video in which someone put Meena in a blender, or another where someone bought a Meena doll off Amazon and put her trunk in toilet water. One creator even unearthed a video showing a young Ariana Grande singing “Happy birthday” to her brother Frankie in a similar fashion. The hashtag #meenaslander now has 78.7 million views.
On this week’s episode of Don’t Let This Flop, a podcast about TikTok and internet culture, co-hosts Brittany Spanos and Ej Dickson discuss the #MeenaSlander trend, as well as the season finale of And Just Like That, the resurgence of the Ting-Tings “That’s Not My Name” trend, and a Pinocchio trailer starring the ultimate 90s himbo Pauly Shore.