Jena Malone’s new single is called ‘Indian Giver,’ for real: offensive?

Jena Malone

We haven’t heard much from Jena Malone lately. A lot of people were upset when she was cast as Johanna in Catching Fire. People suspected that Jena had tossed her own name into the ring as a contender for the role and to create buzz. If that’s what she did, it worked. Jena did pull off the role well. Marvelously, in fact.

Jena’s been recording an album, and she’s about to destroy all the residual fuzziness she’s received for playing a beloved YA character. She has released an acoustic preview from her band, Jena Malone and The Shoe (?), for their song, “Indian Giver.” If you liked Jena at all, this video will change your opinion very quickly. Her voice is terrible. She’s lip biting and rubbing herself seductively. And she’s clearly unaware that she’s committing a cultural blunder:

What a hot mess. The term “indian giver” is very offensive and goes way back to Lewis and Clark and the notion that Native Americans were unfair barterers. Author Vincent Schilling wrote of the term’s inaccuracy: “Really? We recall someone getting an unbeatable deal — you might call it a steal — on the island of Mannahatta and more than a few broken treaties and forced relocations. It’s hard to think of a less accurate generalization, really.” Yep. The term is nothing but racist.

Jena’s only the latest celebrity to casually drop the term without thinking. Matt Lauer got in trouble for letting it fly during the 2012 Olympics. Kris Jenner used it to describe Kris Humphries in the context of wanting Kim Kardashian’s (second) engagement ring back. Do these people not know how to google?

Native Americans have had to put up with a lot of cultural appropriation (from Pharrell and Heidi Klum) lately. Now they have a clueless starlet trying to look sexy while screeching, “Oh god, I’m an Indian Giver!” Ugh.

Jena Malone

Jena Malone

Photos courtesy of WENN

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81 Responses to “Jena Malone’s new single is called ‘Indian Giver,’ for real: offensive?”

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  1. Jaderu says:

    At this point some are just doing offensive things to get attention. You can’t possibly be this stupid and still have the capability to live without accidentally not breathing or something.
    Bad publicity is still publicity. They’re trolling us now.

  2. aims says:

    It’s offensive. And what I also think is offensive, when someone who has no singing abilities so they try to sell their sexuality to over composate.

    • Melymori says:

      Thank you!

      I personally find her extremely annoying, and now unbearable…

    • Chicagogurl says:

      Yep. Offensive.

      She tries and fails to sound like Regina Spektor who actually has good lyrics and a great voice and then thinks making up for it with upskirt shots and “sexy” rubbing herself. really dont like her now.

      Worse yet, it’s a whole studio session, not just one song. This one she sounds like she’s trying to copy Karen O. from Yeah Yeah Yeahs …..ick……

      • Belle Epoch says:

        VERY derivative. Can’t sing to save her life but for some reason seems to believe she can. The little minx shaking her head act is not appealing. Absolutely delusional – AND offensive, right down to the tom-tom rhythm of the piano.

        Does anyone ever say NO to celebrities? Just NO.

      • Merida says:

        Look at this one called “Freestyle”, it is even more embarassing. She had always annoyed me, ever since Life as a house and United states of Leland, but I liked her as Johanna, and now she ruined it again.

      • claire says:

        @Merida: She is apparently tone deaf. That was horrid.

      • Belle Epoch says:

        Holy cr*p!!! That “Freestyle” video is appalling. It’s painful to hear the piano playing actual notes with her tin ear whining.

  3. Alarmjaguar says:


  4. mia girl says:

    That video… W T F
    I might actually have to watch it again just to be sure I didn’t imagine its epic, record-breaking degree of WTFness!

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I’m serious, I can sing better than that, and I can’t sing for sh!t.

    • mia girl says:

      GoodNames – Right?! Malone is at Level 10 on the Celebrity Delusion Scale (also referred to by researchers as the Franco Meter).

      The tap shoes are my favorite part. Ha!!

      • Rae says:

        Your comment alone was worth getting up this morning. The Franco Meter. I’m just thankful I didn’t pee myself, I was laughing so hard.

    • Mel M says:

      Me too! My 1 year old had better pitch. It’s offensive. It’s also hilarious and I cannot believe for a second that she’s serious. It looks like an SNL skit and I think that “drum” stick she is using is from my kids fisher price drum.

      • TheOneandOnlyOnly says:

        Yes, offensive that it is, it’s even more offensive that she got STUDIO time to record this crap, while someone with actual talent was ignored. The egos and ignorance of these young celebutards is amazing.
        I’m surprised no one has mentioned her doing a duet with that other renowned vocalist Scarlet Johannson – together they can make music history of sorts.
        Remember the Seinfeld episode the cigar store indian.
        Also, where’s the vaunted progressiveness in Hollywood? No one informed her about the history of this phrase.
        The more you watch it, the worse it gets, Her voice has no tone, the song’s terrible, and she comes off as an over-indulged 6th grader.

  5. QQ says:

    Christ on a Cracker! Between this pharrell and Katy Perry sh-tty dancers’ costume People in entertainment just don’t wanna chill on being offensive, reading a book or two or learning how Microagressions or cultural appropriation ( or feminism or homophobia or racism) work , Huh?

    I hope Jenna’s Little song goes Double Tupperware Lid

  6. raindrop says:

    Eh. At least she isn’t wearing a feathered war bonnet.

    • Omega says:

      Call me crazy but this is worse than that. One could conceivably argue that wearing the head dress is paying homage or maybe even appreciating the aesthetics of another culture. Not saying I would agree with that argument but it could be validly made. How does one excuse using that term? I mean seriously???

    • Jules says:

      This song title is far worse than wearing a heardress. Pharrell looked awesome in it. I would take what he did as a compliment.

  7. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I’m speechless. The racist name. The “singing.” A new low has been set.

  8. Sighs says:


  9. lunchcoma says:

    This is hard for me to understand. I can see how Pharrell’s picture happened, because that likely involved someone else selecting the war bonnet, handing it to him, and him not thinking about it or deciding to say nothing about it within the space of a few minutes.

    This single presumably took months to produce, though. Didn’t anyone think to tell her that it’s a lot harder to brush this sort of thing off when you’re not Katy Perry?

  10. Val says:

    I could never stand her. I really really can’t. I hope this doesn’t mean we’ll be getting news about her more often.

  11. Adrien says:

    So the Asian guy playing the piano is supposed to be The Shoe?

  12. Green Is Good says:

    Ummm……surely I’m hallucinating . (Back to video).
    Nope. My ears have consciously uncoupled from my head because of auditory abuse.

  13. claire says:

    Is she trolling? She has to be trolling.

  14. Wren33 says:

    You know, there are some expressions where the origins have been lost in time, or maybe were less well know a decade or more ago when people weren’t so aware. For example, I had no idea that “gypped” was related to gypsies until a few years ago. Americans in general are just not as aware of the racism gypsies face. But Indian giver is pretty clearly saying something about Indians, and in this day and age she should realize these things, especially when writing an entire song a filming a video, rather than just casually using an expression in conversation without reflection.

  15. msw says:

    I live Jena Malone. Damnit. Why, Jena, why? And why the f are you “singing?”

  16. pantalones en fuego says:

    Cue the press release apologizing for the title and saying that she empathizes with the plight of Native Americans and regrets offending anyone, yadda, yadda, yadda. Seriously though, she’s old enough to know better right? I remember getting in A LOT of trouble for calling someone an “Indian giver” when I was a kid. My mom explained the origin of it to me and why it was so wrong to say.

  17. aenflex says:

    As a ‘Native American’, not offended at all. Politically Correct is a funny misnomer if I’ve ever heard one.

  18. Anname says:

    Isn’t that the problem with celebrity singers – they get these things released on their names but they don’t have quite enough talent to pull it off. And they get judged super harshly. The song title doesn’t help her case here! This is the type of singing that is fun at home with friends and a few drinks.

  19. GiGi says:

    Sweet baby Jesus I am dying from this. What in the world? I have no actual words. Bizarre. Wrong. Just ugh.

    On another note – I’m sitting in the nail salon and all of the employees are Asian. Except one woman who is White. But she has her hair dyed black and is wearing “Asian eyes” style makeup. This is weird, right??? What is going on in the world!?!?

  20. GiGi says:

    Also – this is just amazing and had me in tears already today!

  21. Dragonlady sakura says:

    Dumbass. I was taught in the first grade that this was a terrible thing to say. Has her non singing ass ever used common sense?

  22. Shay says:

    Hahaha oh shit that was bad. I mean of course its offensive but besides that I can barely make out what she’s saying. And the parts I do hear are offensive. Not to mention all the tapping and head throwing and banging around that yellow drum stick. I’m embarrassed for her..for all of it.

  23. Grumf says:

    Her singing is offensive too.To actual singers.

  24. Darkladi says:

    Holy suck! Who the hell told her she could sing? Maybe the term Indian Giver means something else on her home world, Planet Dingbat.

  25. Aysla says:

    Is it weird that I grew up in the states, but I’ve never ever heard this term before? This post is the very first of I’ve ever heard of it in my life, and I wonder– since it’s supposed to be an offensive term– how it ever entered the lexicon during people’s schooling? Or is it similar to the n-word in context of education (in that I first learned of it in school…probably when reading Huck Finn)? I moved to the states when I was 5 and probably was comfortable with English a year or so later, for reference.

    • lunchcoma says:

      It’s not something you’re likely to encounter in a classroom, since it’s fairly rare for schools to teach books that deal with prejudice against Native Americans.

      I learned the term from my father, who would say it quietly when no one but family or close friends were around. He learned it from his parents, both of whom would use it loudly in public. But if you didn’t grow up around too many white Americans of my grandparents’ generation, I think it’s quite possible you wouldn’t have heard it.

  26. Pepsi Presents...Coke says:

    They dropped the airplane engine on the wrong house.

  27. G says:

    I always get her confused with Evan Rachel Wood. After hearing her sing. Never again.

  28. RobN says:

    I wanted to be offended, but was distracted by her roots.

  29. eliza says:

    The song title obviously offensive BUT the singing!!!!!! Truly offensive to the ears of everything living.

    I do not understand what is going on in this video at all. What does it all mean. Why??????

  30. Shantal says:

    Gross to everything.

  31. Jayna says:

    Past the title, which is beyond offensive, also disturbing is how impressed she is with herself when performing. She’s in love with herself and also thinks she sounds great. It’s cringeworthy. Honey, we’re not impressed.

  32. Dimebox says:

    Watching that was actually painful. Her voice is dog-whistle bad, and her supposedly sexy mannerisms are so off-putting that she is laughable. Then there ‘s the title which makes me want to slap some of the stupid out of her. This is what happens when ego and lack of awareness trump education and good taste. Ugh…go away Jena.

  33. claire says:

    Awesome succinct tags on this story. LOL.
    Jena Malone, racist.

  34. I Choose Me says:

    She’s joking right? Like this is (badly done) satire or something right? She cannot be serious with her ‘singing.’

    It’s a toss up as to which is more offensive. The song title or the song itself.

  35. caz says:

    Haven’t a clue who Jenna Malone is… Is that a good thing?

  36. MG says:

    Wtf!! That was bad, very very bad.

  37. dustin says:

    not good.

    … but at least its not a tom waits cover album…

  38. Lilacflowers says:

    Oh dear, oh gosh, that song is really bad and offensive. Oh gosh, oh crap, she can’t sing. Bury this song. Bury this song.

    Those are my revised lyrics.

  39. MuchAdoAboutAShoe says:

    I’d just like to point out that there is another song with the same name, by 1910 Fruitgum Company, recorded in 1969. While still a culturally offensive term, that version – at least – had a catchier beat. (Oddly enough, I just heard it on the radio the other day and thought, “Wow, how times have changed – no one would make a song with that name today.” Guess I was wrong.)

  40. Megan says:

    Oh girl, stick to acting,

  41. Angel says:

    This is just embarrassing. What’s she doing with the face and the movements in the chair? Her voice is SO bad.

  42. kristi says:

    Utterly shiteous. I used to like her, I’ll never be able to see her as anything but a total ass. EARS.ARE.BLEEDING.

  43. paranormalgirl says:

    That was offensive on EVERY level. Offensive to Native Americans, offensive to listeners, offensive to tap shoes, offensive to chairs….

  44. LAK says:

    Didn’t know that’s what it meant.

  45. Miranda says:

    She sings like this girl in my high school choir, I think her rich daddy must have bribed them or something.

  46. DottieDot says:

    This country is overly sensitive.