That Awkward Viral Rami Malek Video, Explained

Photo: Monica Schipper/Getty Images.
Please only read this if you have a high tolerance for second-hand embarrassment. A video posted by 19-year-old Xan Black that captured an awkward experience the fan had with actor Rami Malek, star of the upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody went viral Monday night.
Black attempted to approach Malek while filming on their phone in hopes of Malek giving their friends a shout-out. He declined on-camera, and fans are divided over how to feel about the awkward encounter.
"Can you say hi to my friends?" Black asks in the video, taken before a Q&A for Bohemian Rhapsody at Florence Gould Hall in New York City.
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"No, but we can take a picture. Is that alright?" Malek replied, reportedly stopping the video on their phone and switching it to the picture setting.
"THIS IS PROBABLY THE MOST EMBARRASSING THING TO EVER HAPPEN TO ME," Black captioned the clip, which currently has over 100k likes and 19k retweets.
The whole interaction has people cringing, so naturally it's turned into a meme.
Fans are also drawing comparisons to other times celebrities have turned down photos with fans, like Jake Gyllenhaal.
Nothing about Malek's response was actually rude. The reaction appears to come more from the sheer awkwardness of it all than any anger directed at Malek or Black, and Black themselves told The Cut that they weren't bothered by his reaction.
"I knew he was in a rush," they told the outlet. "He arrived at 9, the Q&A was at 9:15. And I don’t know, it just felt kind of startling because I didn’t expect that response for videos. And he’s not obligated to do what I expect him to."
"re rami malek: he’s completely entitled to not want to do a video and i don’t think the fan crossed a line," wrote writer Iana Murray. "i know people who take videos because it’s easier to screenshot a selfie than possibly take a bad one."
As for Malek, he did not immediately respond to Refinery29's request for comment, but if you ever see him, just make sure your phone isn't on video unless you get the all clear.
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