CNN interviewed a South Carolina man who had decided to ignore evacuation orders before Hurricane Florence – but viewers were more concerned about the reporter failing to mention to the colorful parrot perched on his shoulder.
Correspondent Nick Valencia spoke to Myrtle Beach resident Jim Darling on Wednesday, asking him about the preparations he had made for the hurricane and why he had decided to stay. But there was only one thing on everyone else’s minds.
‘CNN is interviewing a guy with a parrot as if there’s no parrot. You have to address the parrot man. The parrot is a thing. Literally no mention of the parrot,’ Angela Fritz tweeted.
Correspondent Nick Valencia spoke to Myrtle Beach resident Jim Darling on Wednesday, but viewers were frustrated he did not make any mention of the parrot on Darling’s shoulder
Myrtle Beach was one of many southeastern cities left virtually deserted on Thursday morning, after evacuation orders were issued to 1.2 million people in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
Forecasters believe the category two storm could dump 10 trillion gallons of rain on North Carolina alone, in addition to 110mph winds and a life-threatening storm surge.
But Darling seemed unconcerned after his Costco shop, explaining to Valencia that he had seen out other hurricanes in the past and would rather be at home than ‘stuck in a hotel somewhere’.
Valencia explained that the local mayor had ordered everyone to leave or risk both their lives and those of 911 respondents, but the interviewee was still resolute.
Darling explained he was unconcerned about the incoming storm, as the parrot relaxed on his shoulder
‘I’m not really worried, and I won’t be calling anyone to come and help me, I can take care of myself,’ Darling said, as he showed the supplies of food, water and batteries in his shopping cart.
HURRICANE FLORENCE IN NUMBERS
The outer bands of wind and rain from a weakened but still deadly Hurricane Florence began lashing North Carolina on Thursday.
As the monster storm moves in for an extended stay, here is a breakdown by numbers:
- Florence clocked 110 mph winds on Thursday after it was downgraded to a Category 2
- The storm was already generating 83-foot waves at sea on Wednesday
- Life-threatening storm surges of up to 13 feet were also forecast in some areas
- Florence is forecast to dump up to 40 inches of rain in some areas after it makes landfall in North and South Carolina
- Potentially 10 trillion gallons of rain is expected in southern states in the next week
- An estimated 10 million people live in areas expected to be placed under a hurricane or storm advisory
- Up to 1.7 million people were ordered to evacuated ahead of the hurricane
By this point Maximus the parrot had hopped down onto the cart, after spending the previous minute of the interview perching on Darling’s shoulder looking the other way to the camera.
The shy bird made the occasional glance at Valencia, but seemed unmoved by his moment of fame.
When CNN panned back to anchor Brooke Baldwin, she gently ticked him off for not mentioning Maximus.’You hadn’t prepared us for the parrot,’ Baldwin said.
‘I’d not prepared for that myself. His name is Maximus, he seemed pretty chilled to me,’ Valencia replied.
‘You seemed pretty chill too with the parrot a couple of inches from you. We wish the man and the parrot all the best,’ Baldwin added.
Other viewers also took to Twitter to express their frustration. ‘Interview the bird!’ begged Reid Vineis.
‘Hoping for a follow-up about Maximus after the storm,’ wrote Tommi Rincón.
A user called ‘youperfect’, meanwhile, sent Maximus her best wishes, writing: ‘I’ve always wondered what kind of people neglect all the warnings and get in trouble in the end.
‘Finally got the answer. I hope that parrot would be okay. Let’s pray for the parrot.’
Viewers took to Twitter to complain that Maximus had not been given its moment in the limelight
Anchor Brooke Baldwin said she struggled not to laugh when the parrot came up on the screen