As the world turned to virtual meetings during quarantine, we were bound to run into some technical difficulties here and there. But I doubt any of us imagined the hijinx would be as hilarious as this.
A virtual court case in Texas was delayed when a cat appeared on the screen. No, not someone’s pet, but the lawyer himself. Attorney Rod Ponton showed up to virtual court in the 394th district of Texas with a kitten filter turned on.
The two somber-looking men couldn’t help but stare silently at their colleague until Judge Roy Ferguson decided to speak up.
“Mr. Ponton, I believe you have a filter turned on in the video settings,” the judge said.
Suddenly the cat moved, its eyes darted hilariously, and out came the startled voice of a grown man confused as to why he appeared as a kitten in a public court.
“It is and I don’t know how to remove it,” Ponton pleaded. “I’ve got my assistant here and she’s trying to remove it but uh … I’m prepared to go forward with it. I’m here live. I’m not a cat.”
Well, hey at least he was saying the truth in court.
Eventually, Ponton was able to disable the filter which he cited as a mistake from his secretary, and then later on a “glitch” from Zoom.
Regardless, the honorable Judge Roy Ferguson took the hijinx in stride later posting a viral tweet about the incident including some advice when using Zoom.
IMPORTANT ZOOM TIP: If a child used your computer, before you join a virtual hearing check the Zoom Video Options to be sure filters are off. This kitten just made a formal announcement on a case in the 394th (sound on). #lawtwitter #OhNo @zoom_ushttps://t.co/I0zaj0wu6K— Judge Roy Ferguson (@JudgeFergusonTX) February 9, 2021
Motherboard later reached out to Ponton by phone who said this regarding the virtual trial:
“Oh, that was just a mistake by my secretary. I was using her computer and for some reason, she had that filter on. I took it off and replaced it with my face. It was a case involving a man trying to exit the United States with contraband and contraband cash. All it was was a mistake. It was taken off and we had the hearing as normal.”
Though embarrassed, Ponton was able to make light of the viral gaffe.
“At first I was a little upset about it but as I realized that it was a viral story I tried to laugh along with the rest of the country. I think we all need a little humor after the rough luck we’ve had the last few months.”
Whether you’ve got an important virtual meeting coming up or presiding over a high-profile contraband case, here’s one thing to remember: turn off those Zoom filters!