- Meagan Glesmann has decided to surprise her boyfriend after being away from him for four months.
- She posted a video of the surprise on TikTok, and it exploded, receiving 18 million views.
- The couple received intense criticism for their reaction, but they learned to deal with it.
When Meagan Glesmann, a 21-year-old college student based in Winnipeg, Canada, returned home after traveling Hawaii for four months, she decided to surprise her boyfriend with a grand gesture — showing up to a social event without him. tell him in advance. that she was back.
The moment was captured by his friends, who filmed Matthew Boyle, 22, looking stunned as his girlfriend came over to hug him. Glesmann decided to post a 17-second clip of the surprise on her TikTok account because she thought her shocked expression in the video was “funny”.
But things took a sour turn when Glesmann, who has 8,500 TikTok followers and typically receives thousands of views on each of her posts, went explosively viral within days. To his surprise, the post received 18.5 million views.
Glesmann and Boyle, who told Insider they’re just casual TikTok users who aren’t aware of most viral trends and memes, said they have no idea what’s going on. they were doing after they went viral.
Viewers were quick to compare the video to a previous similar viral moment – but it wasn’t positive
Glesmann and Boyle, former insider, they were happy to see each other and that the evening was not at all awkward despite Boyle’s initial reaction, which he said it was his responsibility to “deal with” the situation while he was caught. off guard.
But Glesmann’s TikTok viewers saw nothing of what transpired between the two after the cameras went down, and their responses to his short video were harsh.
As the video began to garner more views, commenters began to dissect Boyle’s reaction and body language in the clip, saying he looked “guilty” and “worried” seeing her. Some commenters also said her response suggested he cheated on her while she was away.
Many commenters compared Glesmann’s video to a similar clip that went hugely viral in September 2021. It showed a woman surprising her college boyfriend, but her apparent reluctance to get up from the couch he was sitting on led to a furious debate about the nature of their relationship. , and widespread speculation about his loyalty. He quickly became known as “Couch Guy” and the video received 50 million views.
Some viewers of Glesmann’s video said they thought the clip was a deliberate parody or recreation of the “Couch Guy” video, especially since it used the same sound – a clip from “Still Falling for You” by Ellie Goulding. But Glesmann said she had never heard of the original video and chose to use the sound because she saw it was popular under the #longdistancerelationship hashtag.
“When I posted it and people started commenting, I was like, well, ‘what’s that couch guy?'” she told Insider. When she looked and realized the comparison wasn’t positive, she said it was heartbreaking.
“I probably shed a few tears,” she told Insider.
Going so viral may subject the people at the center of these clips to online abuse
Nearly three months after the original TikTok “Couch Guy” exploded, the man in the video wrote an anonymous opinion piece in Slate Magazine, describing the intense experience of achieving that level of notoriety. He said online hate has exposed him to “invasions of my privacy” and “the threat of doxxing”.
Glesmann and Boyle told Insider that for them it was also overwhelming to receive a huge influx of negative comments on their video.
Online commentators have continually ridiculed their relationship.
When Glesmann posted a short compilation of photos of her and Boyle to celebrate three years of being together on October 13, commenters under the post expressed skepticism about the joy of their relationship, suggesting they were trying to cover up their problems or “justify” their relationship.
The couple told Insider that they expect people to have opinions on everything they post. “It’s a bit sad, but that’s to be expected,” Glesmann said.
“People use these apps for entertainment. And when you get a video that goes viral, you immediately have an opinion about it,” Boyle added.
The couple said they had become desensitized to much of the negativity. “With the first comments, I was like, ouch, this kind of bad. But then there were just too many,” Glesmann said.
Boyle told Insider that after a few days he just “swept away” the hate online and tried to move on. “I haven’t lost any sleep over it,” he said.
He continued, “It’s kind of funny that something so innocent turned into something so big, but it doesn’t really affect me at all.”
For more stories like this, check out Insider’s digital literacy team coverage here.