A lawyer appearing before a judge in a virtual court case popped up on screen as a cartoon cat – after failing to realise a feline filter was switched on.
The Texas lawman was forced to face the nightmare many have feared during the COVID-19 pandemic and the age of non-stop Zoom calls, when it is believed his child had used the computer before him and left a cat filter on the camera.
Rod Ponton began his virtual court hearing before Judge Roy Ferguson with no idea that his on-screen persona was a white fluffy kitten.
After Judge Ferguson gave Mr Ponton a heads-up on the kitty caper, he recruited his assistant to try to help remove it – but to no avail.
The other participants in the meeting sat patiently waiting but broke into giggles when Mr Ponton was heard to say:
“Can you hear me? I’m here live. I’m not a cat.”
Eventually Mr Ponton asked the judge if the proceedings could continue, despite the kitty capers.
The video ends before it’s revealed whether the filter was removed, but Judge Ferguson offered an important warning to anyone else who appears before his bench.
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
He tweeted: “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.”
A post of the video to Twitter has had more than six million views.
Judge Ferguson said he recorded and released it “for educational purposes”.
He added: “It is crucial to me that this not be couched as poking fun at or belittling the lawyer, but noting that it goes hand-in-hand with the legal community’s effort to continue representing their clients in these challenging times, and at the incredible professionalism and dignity displayed by all involved.
“Texas judges have now held over a million virtual hearings, so you can imagine that we’ve seen it all.
“It just exemplifies what we’re all living with, you have to roll with the punches.
“Obviously it was amusing but if you watch carefully you’ll see that everyone was extremely professional.
“Everyone involved handled it with dignity, and the filtered lawyer showed incredible grace. True professionalism all around!”
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