This story could probably be filed under "only in Florida," but not in the way one would expect.
A hobby farmer from South Florida has captured millions’ hearts by documenting life with her emu, Emmanuel, and took the web by storm.
Emmanuel has been known to TikTok users for weeks now, thanks to Knuckle Bump Farms’ TikTok account. Since joining the app, Blake, 29, a South Florida farmer and proudly out lesbian, has primarily shared content on TikTok about cattle and adorable miniature cows. But, of course, that was before Emmanuel angrily walked into the picture in early July.
A mischievous-looking, nearly six-foot-tall emu makes himself known, as if on cue, by taking an interest in —and seeming offense to — the camera in the video, knocking it to the ground as Blake talks to the camera about the other animals on the farm.
Blake has posted at least half-a-dozen videos on @KnuckleBumpFarms TikTok since early July, exhorting Emmanuel not to “do it.”
Each time Blake admonishes Emmanuel, he seemingly considers the eternal emu question: Should he peck?
The original video has garnered almost 9 million views, and Emmanuel fans have demanded more ornery emu content. Blake happily obliged, providing another clip of the giant bird acting up.
“Emmanuel, don’t do it!” quickly became a universal symbol of the world’s frustrations. An 'ikr' of sorts connected the internet community of parents, teachers, and caretakers.
The funniest of the videos is challenging to choose from, but this one encapsulates the shenanigans Emmanuel and Blake engage in while navigating farm life.
Other videos are too sweet to be seen, such as Blake and Emmanuel cuddling together while enjoying a sleepy, sunny Florida day.
“Emmanuel doesn’t always choose violence. Sometimes, he chooses cuddles,” Blake writes.
The internet buzzed on Sunday when fans discovered that Emmanuel’s real name was Emmanuel Todd Lopez.
"God I love this lesbian and her bird son," tweeted comedian Danielle Radford.
This afternoon, Blake posted a Twitter video where she chastised Emmanuel for pecking at another animal, which amounted to “assault.”
Blake has been a content creator since 2013, but she gained a large following only after Emmanuel appeared in her videos.
Emmanuel has been on Blake’s family farm since 2015, she told Washington Post. She said she's glad the content is helping distract people from what seems to be a constant cycle of negative news from the war in Ukraine to the lethal heat waves.
Blake told the paper that she's loved animals since growing up near her grandparents’ farm. She and her girlfriend moved to her grandparent's Knuckle Bump Farms to help them with the farm because of their age.
She told the Post that she's been "overwhelmed" by the response to the videos. Blake added that Emmanuel’s interruptions aren’t staged. Instead, the emu has a genuine “obsession with the camera” — and “obsession with me. … No matter where I am … he always has to be right next to me.”
The farm has two emus: Emmanuel and a female named Ellen. Emmanuel does not like Ellen, according to Blake. But he does like to keep company with a donkey named Rose.
Emus are found in Australia, New Guinea, Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, and the Philippines. These giant birds can grow to a height of six feet and weigh about 100 pounds. They live in the wild for ten to 20 years.