MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Behind the shield of anonymity provided by Facebook, a video mocking Myrtle Beach mayoral candidate Mark McBride appeared Thursday night on a page called “The Real Mark McBride.”
The nearly three minute video featured, in an apparent attempt to seem low-budget and off-the-cuff, a man dressed in what looked like a raggedy black wig, someone covering part of the camera lens with their finger for a few seconds, and the camera dropping to the ground.
But the video revealed someone familiar with the nuances of McBride’s own Facebook videos and Myrtle Beach’s hot political battles from today to more than a decade ago during McBride’s last term as mayor.
The video opened as McBride typically does, with an introduction from the “old mayor.” It turned McBride’s call for the hiring of 100 more police officers into “100 officers in 100 seconds.” In an apparent reference to last summer’s unproven claim of flesh-eating bacteria in the ocean water of Myrtle Beach, the man warned of “flesh-eating aliens.”
The fake McBride also compared his “little corruptions” – with a reference to McBride’s use of city credit cards more than a decade ago — to the city’s “major corruptions,” while walking down a street, like McBride does in his own videos.
Unlike McBride’s videos, however, the street wasn’t in Myrtle Beach or South Carolina. Whoever created the video nearly hid the location by blurring windows and signs as the man walked by.
But a lack of blurring in a few frames gave clues that, after research, showed the video was shot in Louisiana.
The first clue came from a sign posted in a window. It was blurred, except for a few frames when it showed the words ‘Parc International.’ A search on Google revealed a concert venue in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Another blurred sign showed the numbers “1414” in a few frames of the video. The sign looked like it might’ve been advertising a space available for rent.
Within minutes of searching those numbers and commercial properties available for lease in Lafayette, News13 found an advertisement for 119 East Main Street with a phone number ending in “1414.” At the same address, Google Maps showed locations from the video — a gate with music notes, a modern-looking building exterior, and logos that had been partially blurred.
“The Real Mark McBride” page initially refused to say who created the video, but after this article was posted, the page named political blogger Will Folks’ ‘Liber-Tea’ organization. Folks confirmed the claim by email. Asked for documentation, Folks provided two audition videos from the man who played McBride.
Folks told News13 his organization hired a casting company and sent a script to the actor. The man’s wife recorded the video on an iPhone, said Folks.
“I grew up spending summers down there, I used to take my own kids there – but it got too violent, too out-of-control,” Folks wrote. “I like Mark, I just don’t think he’s the guy to fix it.”
Folks said his website, fitsnews.com, would likely endorse candidate Brenda Bethune. “We’ve seen the past and the present in terms of leadership in the Myrtle Beach mayor’s office, it’s time to look to the future.”