This beleaguered distinguished gentleman is Gary Southern, President of Freedom Industries, the company that spilled all that yummy 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol (MCHM) into West Virginia’s Elk River. He was having a really rough day Friday and didn’t care who knew about his troubles. Here he is delicately dodging reporters’ questions, while drinking bottled water and generally being almost as oily as BP chief Tony Hayward, who just wanted his life back, the poor precious princess. Southern fretted that his voice was sore from all the talking he’d been doing, and said that it had been “an extremely hard day” for him. And now, because you’re monsters who don’t know how to empathize with the problems of rich polluters, you people are going to mock him for it, aren’t you, you unfeeling louts? (We would just add that we have a fine assortment of rotten vegetables in easily-flung sizes available for purchase in the foyer.)

Also, BIG bonus points to Kallie Cart, the WCHS reporter who wouldn’t let Southern weasel out of answering questions, pointing out that “it’s been a long day for a lot of people who don’t have water” and then hammering Southern with a question about how long it took to report the spill — which he had “no information on.” And of course, he swigged bottled water like a super-sized Marco Rubio throughout the brief clip.

When Cart asked whether the company had any systems to alert them of spills, Southern brushed off the question and said “I think that’s all we have time for” and tried to walk away. But damned if she was going to let him get away with it: “Hey, hey, hey! We have a lot more questions!” Something in her tone got him to turn around and come back — we think maybe he’s just not accustomed to people not letting him declare the meeting over and walk away. Southern was recognized for his brilliant performance by the “Asshole of the Day” blog, and we couldn’t agree more with their assessment.

Next time Fox News attacks “liberal Hollywood” for promoting class warfare by portraying noble businessmen as cartoonish bad guys, this clip could be a useful reminder that plenty of Jerb Creators do a fine job of creating that impression themselves.

As of this morning, some limited areas in the state are being cleared to begin using tap water again, although over 200,000 residents still cannot use tap water for anything but flushing their toilets. We have a suggestion for rerouting the outflow, if Mr. Southern’s residence can be located by West Virginia sewer workers.

[ via Asshole of the Day / WCHS / CNN]

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