• More than 300,000 people haven’t had water to drink or wash in West Virginia since Thursday
  • Chemical company Freedom Industries are to blame for the spillage which has polluted the local water supply
  • Company president Gary Southern appeared before cameras on Friday evening to apologize but he failed to convince
  • He tried to cut short his press conference by complaining to reporters that he had had a long day
  • He foolishly drank from a bottle of water throughout the interview, despite the fact that his company was preventing others from that very luxury
  • When he turned his back to finish the interview, local reporter Kallie Cart demanded he come back because they weren’t finished
  • South Industries and their local PR agency parted ways on Sunday following the media relations disaster for the chemical company
  • It could be days before the residents of nine counties in W Virginia can drink or wash in the tap water again

By David Mccormack

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The CEO of the company at the center of a chemical leak in West Virginia that has left more than 300,000 people without drinking water for four days is facing mounting criticism following his arrogant display before the television cameras on Friday night.

Freedom Industries President Gary Southern sounded rude and aloof as he attempted to cut short his press conference in Charleston after complaining to reporters that he had had a long day.

To make matters worse Southern repeatedly swigged from a water of bottle, seemingly impervious to the fact that his company had disrupted water services in nine counties, depriving 300,000 people of tap water to drink or even wash themselves.

 

Thirsty work: Freedom Industries President Gary Southern repeatedly swigged from a water of bottle on Friday, seemingly impervious to the fact that his company had depriving 300,000 people of tap water to drink or even wash themselves

Thirsty work: Freedom Industries President Gary Southern repeatedly swigged from a water of bottle on Friday, seemingly impervious to the fact that his company had depriving 300,000 people of tap water to drink or even wash themselves

Beware: More than 300,000 people have been told to indefinitely avoid drinking or even touching tap water following Thursday's chemical spill in Charleston, West Virgina

Beware: More than 300,000 people have been told to indefinitely avoid drinking or even touching tap water following Thursday’s chemical spill in Charleston, West Virgina

During his abbreviated press conference, Southern issued an apology for the chemical spill, but he quickly turned terse when it came times for questions.

‘Look guys, it’s been an extremely long day. I’m having a lot of trouble talking at the moment. I’d appreciate it if we could wrap this thing up,’ he complained.

But before Southern could walk away, he was quickly interrupted by local news anchor/reporter Kallie Cart from WCHS8.

‘We actually have a lot of questions,’ said the persistent reporter. ‘It’s been a long day for a lot of people who don’t have water.’

Local news anchor/reporter Kallie Cart from WCHS8 has won plaudits for her dogged interview style

Local news anchor/reporter Kallie Cart from WCHS8 has won plaudits for her dogged interview style

 

When her line of questioning started to get a little awkward for Southern, he made another ill-judged attempt to wrap things up by saying ‘that’s all we have time for.’

Once again Cart was quick to stop Southern in his tracks.

‘We’re not done!’ she shouted as Southern turned his back on the cameras.

The look he gives her as he realizes that he is going to have to take another question is priceless.

Cart has received praise for her handling of the water crisis and for her dogged interview style on both Facebook and Twitter, while Southern’s ill-judged lack of compassion has been compared to Tony Hayward, the disgraced former boss of BP.

In the wake of Southern’s disastrous TV appearance, Freedom Industries’ local public relations firm Charleston Ryan Associates announced on Sunday that it has decided it will no longer represent the chemicals company, reports WCHS.

Video: Watch Gary Southern’s disastrous press conference

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