If you enjoyed linewives vs. bucket bunnies, the rancid Pink Sauce debacle, and the chess cheating scandal, this next story is for you! It’s got Avian bird flu, clout-chasing lesbian farmers, the N-word, and one extremely stressed-out emu named Emmanuel Todd Lopez. Now, I’ve heard bits and pieces of this story, but yesterday Jezebel published a helpful summary. Perfect! Let’s dive in, shall we? But first, a trigger warning: FLORIDA.
So, there’s this farmer named Taylor Blake, and she runs Knuckle Bump Farms in South Florida with her partner, Bachelor in Paradise alum Kristian Haggerty. This year, Taylor went viral on TikTok for doing this bit where she gets constantly interrupted by her emu while trying to make farm education videos. Then Taylor chides him using his full Christian name: Emmanuel Todd Lopez. Here’s a taste:
Taylor’s videos got so big that she was interviewed by the Washington Post and went on The Tonight Show:
This was not Taylor’s first foray into going viral. People discovered she got Internet-famous back in 2015 for asking a Taco Bell employee to have a sleepover with her. She also had a bit about being“Good Karen.” OK, sure! Like many young people, Taylor covets Internet fame. Annoying, but not the worst thing in the world. But guess what is the worst thing in the world? Being racist. And Taylor is racist. Over the years she’s tweeted super problematic shit about Black people and used the N-word many times. Jezebel sums the fallout from these tweets quite nicely:
This discovery got the mid-sized reaction you’d imagine a non-famous white woman farmer from Florida being lazily racist deserves: outrage in certain corners of the internet that weren’t big enough to circle back to Fallon or the Post. Just as that cycle of indignation was dying down to make way for America’s next unlikely animal superstar, disease struck South Florida.
Enter Avian bird flu. On October 15, Taylor took to Twitter to share the sad news that she’d lost 99% of the birds to Avian influenza. Apparently, when this virus hits a farm, the state will come in to put the birds down. Emmanuel’s fans asked for an update on his health, and Taylor shared that he had fatigue, wasn’t eating, and had a twisted neck:
We lost 50+ birds in 3 days. I am still trying to wrap my head around it. We thought we were out of the woods, when Emmanuel unexpectedly went down this past Wednesday…💔 pic.twitter.com/OPgts2XVWV
— eco sister (@hiitaylorblake) October 15, 2022
Now, this is where Taylor faced some backlash. She began posting tons of photos of herself up close and personal with poor, sick Emmanuel. People pointed out that, um, maybe don’t cozy up to a bird with the plague? A bird disease expert confirmed this, tweeting that “bird flu is extremely dangerous to humans and other animals,” and while it may sound harsh, birds that get the virus should be euthanized. But Taylor refused. A week later, she went back on Twitter to explain that something in her gut told her Emmanuel would survive. Turns out, she wasn’t wrong. Emmanuel was tested for a bunch of sicknesses, but nothing was physically wrong with him. Taylor said everyone has come to the conclusion that Emmanuel was sick with stress:
We tested for everything under the sun, and he tested negative for absolutely everything. EEE, West Nile, Chlamydia, Salmonella, etc. We truly believe all of this stemmed from stress.
— eco sister (@hiitaylorblake) October 22, 2022
Taylor went on to explain that “emus are highly susceptible to stress.” Well, it makes sense that poor Emmanuel is stressed. He watched 99% of his bird friends get put down by the Florida government. Getting famous so suddenly also comes with a lot of pressure. And his mom got caught being super racist (Taylor’s Twitter bio now features a #BLACKLIVESMATTER!). But, for now, at least, EMMANUEL LIVES. Today, Taylor tweeted an emu health update (but from Emmanuel’s POV… wait, was he the author of the racist tweets?!?):
Hi friends, look at me!! My neck is starting to straighten, and I am STRONG. My moms built me a new sling that is attached to a track, so I can practice my walking! They also built me a sling that floats, and we have started doing hydrotherapy🤞🏻 THANK YOU FOR THE PRAYERS! pic.twitter.com/AEYGRveu8m
— eco sister (@hiitaylorblake) October 26, 2022
Whew. What a journey. Now, if you wanna mix things up and support a non-problematic farmer with an extremely problematic emu, might I suggest @uselessfarm?:
Someone said she might act better if she didn’t live in a scene out of Dexter and I can’t stop thinking about it honestly they’re not wrong
Sure, Karen the Emu’s sole purpose in life is to eventually murder her human, but at least she refrains from racial slurs!