Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Reporter fleeing Yellowstone bison is the social-distancing meme we all need

"Oh, no, I ain't messing with you," said reporter Deion Broxton, the smartest man in journalism.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
2 min read

If only the coronavirus outbreak could be dodged this easily. On Wednesday, Deion Broxton, a reporter for KTVM-TV in Butte, Montana, was reporting a story from Yellowstone National Park when he noticed a herd of bison heading his way. Broxton side-eyed the giant creatures for a moment, muttering, "Oh, my god, oh, my god," and then decided to exit the stage immediately. "Oh, no, I ain't messing with you," Broxton said, before quickly walking off camera, a smart and self-protective move that turned the brief video instantly viral. 

As of Thursday, the video he tweeted out showing the encounter has been viewed more than 7.9 million times. "There was a herd of bison walking right toward me at YellowstoneNPS today!" he wrote.

Broxton also tweeted out a video of the bison, writing, "Here's the video of the bison I shot once I got a safe distance away lol."

Yellowstone National Park's official Twitter account praised the reporter. "A perfect example of what to do when approached by wildlife!" a spokesperson for the park said in a tweet. "Thanks, Deion, for putting the #YellowstonePledge into action!" (The Yellowstone Pledge urges travelers to give the park's wildlife room and follow other simple rules for staying safe.)

Broxton's wariness and quick exit inspired the meme-makers of the world, who perhaps needed a distraction more than ever due to the coronavirus outbreak. People captioned Broxton's video with all kinds of different themes.

"When I see someone cough in the grocery store," wrote one Twitter user.

Another wrote, "When that one co-worker starts coming your way to interrupt your conversation."

Even former pro athlete Deion Sanders jumped in, tweeting, "I don't blame u namesake! Somebody has to tell the story."

In an interview for his alma mater, Maryland's Towson University, Broxton said "nothing could prepare a guy who grew up in Baltimore to deal with the wildlife in Montana. I'm used to rats, not bison."