Lil Ginga Snap, a 20-year-old SoundCloud rapper, is working on a diss track about the baby from Ice Age. It’s not done, he says, but he shares some of the rhymes with me anyway: “Always wearing his little fucking tunic, he thinks he’s so cool / I’m gonna kick his ass, drown him in a fucking pool / His name is Roshan and yet he’s fucking white / His name should’ve been Roshit cuz he’s a motherfucking blight.”
“I hate that little damn baby,” he tells me once he’s finished rapping. “I hate his li’l swoop haircut. I hate his tunic. He always crying like a bitch, too.”
When I ask why he just started hating the baby now — 18 years after the movie was released in theaters — the Massachusetts-based rapper is unsure.
Equally unsure is redditor granitebuilder, who wasn’t even born when the movie came out, but who has posted one of the top memes in r/iceagebabyhate. “I don’t actually know why the Ice Age baby is getting so much hate right now,” the 14-year-old says. “It’s just an animated baby from 2002. Maybe it’s because February is almost over, and people just wanted a relevant [winter] meme to use in posts.”
According to Don Caldwell, the editor-in-chief of Know Your Meme, memes surrounding the Ice Age baby have been around for a long time, but typically in the form of deep-fried shitposts. Last month, however, they took a turn when @kein69mistkerl tweeted the following:
Ever since, baby Roshan has appeared in various memes with the same vibe: that he’s evil and must be destroyed. Caldwell says PewDiePie is almost certainly responsible for taking it to another level, however, as the alt-right-curious YouTuber recently took a 30-day hiatus and “Why I HATE Ice Age Baby” was the second video he uploaded after his return. It’s something Caldwell has seen before: A meme might have middling awareness in niche corners of the internet, but once someone with the following of PewDiePie posts about it, “the popularity spikes.”
In any event, in the last week alone, a Change.org petition entitled “Kill Ice Age Baby” has gained more than 10,000 signatures. Meanwhile, the Facebook page “I Hate the Baby From Ice Age” has over 122,000 followers (and naturally, it’s selling merch), and two of the three fastest-growing subreddits are the aforementioned) r/IceAgeBabyHate and r/FuckIceAgeBaby.
FallOutBruh64 says he started r/IceAgeBabyHate in January after @kein69mistkerl’s tweet, but it sat mostly dormant until PewDiePie’s video. “After that, the sub really started gaining popularity and activity,” he tells me, lending even more credence to Caldwell’s theory. “It’s kind of mind-blowing how many people are seething with rage against a cartoon baby from so long ago.”
Perhaps it has something to do with fans’ newfound power after petitioning the makers of Sonic to change his teeth. Basically, had Ice Age come out today, Roshan wouldn’t have made the cut — at least if fans had anything to say about it. “His animation was jank, and his character only existed to inconvenience the heroes and make poop jokes,” FallOutBruh64 says.
“The creators of Ice Age clearly didn’t put any elbow grease into the character,” adds redditor blak_christmas. “He’s not cute; he’s disproportional and abnormal, which makes him oddly dissatisfying and creepy.”
Another redditor with a top Ice Age baby hate meme concurs. “He’s the single worst baby to come out of modern media,” says IamshinyCatchme. “At least Baby Yoda and Baby Groot were adorable and cuddly. I know the film was released in 2002, but you had to make him look like a K-pop star fucked a rugby ball and then put the Lovecraftian offspring into a potato sack?”
But as hot as the hatred seems at the moment, veteran memer Sonny5ideUp is positive it won’t last. Roshan just “just doesn’t have the depth,” he tells me. And so, he’s sure that “it’s just one of those memes that will die within a few days.
“Besides,” he says, “I’d rather put my hate-energy memes into hating friends anyway.”