An unidentified raccoon has been accused — without evidence — by a White House correspondent of attacking "multiple" members of the press corps, in a case that has sparked calls to federal authorities.
What are the details?
CBS News White House correspondent Paula Reid claimed in a tweet that a raccoon "allegedly grabbed pant leg of a photographer & then a corespondent (sic) before being fended off" on the North Lawn of the White House on Monday morning.
Reid accused the perpetrator of attacking "multiple crews," but did not present any evidence of the purported assaults. She did present photos of several other unidentified raccoons without their consent, acknowledging that the subjects who appeared to be tampering with property were pictured from "more peaceful times."
Strong Pawnee vibes at White House this morning as a raccoon attacked multiple news crews on North Lawn. 🦝 allegedl… https://t.co/9fxOJDJDSO— Paula Reid (@Paula Reid)1601302632.0
The Hill pointed out that Reid joked about "strong Pawnee vibes" from the encounter, a reference "to the fictional town of Pawnee, Ind. from the sitcom 'Parks and Recreation,' where raccoons are a frequent nuisance."
What was the reaction on social media?
Reid's post garnered significant attention on the social media platform, with several followers repeating the stereotype that raccoons active during daylight hours likely carry rabies. Others spoke of their fondness for the nocturnal animals, and dismissed the allegations.
Citing the photos from "more peaceful times," one Twitter user responded, "THESE RACCOON LOOK INNOCENT TO ME PAULA JUST A ROUTINE SNACK INSPECTION NOTHING TO SEE HERE CASE CLOSE."
But Reid kept on the case, providing an update that "Sources tell @CBSNews White House reaching out to [U.S. General Services Administration] about aggressive (raccoon) who allegedly attacked crews this am."
UPDATE: Sources tell @CBSNews White House reaching out to @USGSA about aggressive 🦝 who allegedly attacked crews this AM. #MondayMorning— Paula Reid (@Paula Reid)1601303515.0
The Hill also noted that "the raccoons could not be reached for comment," and confirmed that "no evidence has emerged to suggest the raccoons were politically motivated."