Fans are once again making memes of Ariana Grande’s boyfriend and Wicked co-star, Ethan Slater, after he made what many are calling an awkward red carpet appearance.
On Nov. 27, 2023, the TikTok account Broadway Direct (@broadwaydirect) posted an interview with Ethan Slater, who was at the opening night of Monty Python’s Spamalot on Broadway. The actor talked about starring in the upcoming Wicked movie, which is slated for release in November.
“Filming Wicked has been unbelievable,” the actor said on the red carpet. “We’ve handled [the show] with such love and care. … I think everyone’s minds are going to be blown. … Everybody who loves Wicked is going to be really happy because these characters are being handled with such love and care.”
But while Slater gushed about the upcoming movie, fans latched onto a different aspect of the interview—namely, Slater’s awkward pauses and facial expressions while talking. It also didn’t help that Broadway Direct posted the interview with TikTok‘s Stitch function enabled, prompting users to stitch videos of themselves mimicking the actor’s uncomfortable manner.
Sarah Freeze (@freezerburnd) received over 2 million views on her post, in which she simply imitated Slater’s facial expression. Viewers of the video were highly amused.
“He went full Bella poarch,” wrote one user, referring to TikToker-turned-singer Bella Poarch.
“There’s a mouse in his hair telling him what to do, I know it,” wrote another, seemingly referencing Slater’s resemblance to the animated character Alfredo Linguini in Ratatouille.
“I hope Ariana is seeing these,” wrote another.
“Everything I learn about this man is against my will,” a further said.
@freezerburnd #stitch with @Broadway Direct ♬ original sound – Sarah Freeze
A number of users across the platform who stitched the video from Broadway Direct managed to have a viral moment. Boring (@me9804) garnered over 3.5 million views for her post, in which she made fun of Slater’s affect in the interview.
“He did the bella poarch expression,” said yet another viewer, latching onto the similarities in his awkward smile with the expressions Poarch has been known to make in her videos.
For those not in the know, Poarch is a Filipina-American musician and social media personality who rose to fame after a zoomed-in TikTok video of herself lip-syncing to the British rap song “M to the B” went viral and became one of the most liked posts on the platform. Following her viral moment, Poarch signed with Warner Records and released her first music video in May 2021.
“That’s the smile that has Ariana weak in the knobby knees?” asked another viewer.
“He didn’t have that love and care for his baby mama and newborn baby though,” a third joked, referring to the fact that Slater left his wife and son of just under two years.
Grande and Slater have been slammed by fans about their new relationship, with both being labeled as “home wreckers.” The relationship first came to public light in July, just days after Grande had announced her split from her ex-husband, Dalton Gomez. Slater’s ex-wife, Lily Jay, also told Page Six in an exclusive interview that Grande was “Not a girl’s girl” and that her family had become “collateral damage.”
Following the release of Grande’s most recent single, “Yes, And,” which seemed to make reference to the drama with Slater, the singer faced backlash from fans who criticized her for her role as the “other woman.” The singer also lost over 360,000 followers in a month.
Like Boring, TikToker Taywenzl (@taywezl) had a viral moment after she posted a similar stitched video mocking Slater’s interview. Clocking in at 4 million views, Taywenzl’s video cuts from Slater to herself imitating his strange sideways smile.
“That is the creepiest thing, why did he do that?” said one viewer.
“He’s like a ventriloquist doll,” said another amused commenter.
“The theater kid smile,” wrote a third.
The Daily Dot has requested additional information from Sarah via Instagram direct message and from Boring and Taywenzl via TikTok comment.