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youtube.com/394thDistrictCourtofTexasLiveStream
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Lawyer Goes Viral after Struggling with Zoom Filter during a Virtual Hearing — See the Video

Rebelander Basilan
Feb 14, 2021
03:00 P.M.

An attorney in Texas, Rod Ponton, fell into a hilarious mess during a recent court hearing when he couldn't figure out how to disable the cat filter on his Zoom video.

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Attorney Rod Ponton was being hidden behind the cat filter as he spoke to the camera in a video published by Texas' 394th Judicial District Court. While talking, his eyes and mouth move.

"Can you hear me judge?" Ponton asked. To which Judge Ferguson replied, "I can hear you. I think it's a filter." Ponton continues to struggle with the app as Cat's eyes flit across the screen in panic.

A live stream of virtual court proceedings in the 394th Judicial District Court. | Photo: YouTube/394thDistrictCourtofTexasLiveStream

A live stream of virtual court proceedings in the 394th Judicial District Court. | Photo: YouTube/394thDistrictCourtofTexasLiveStream

Ponton said he had no idea how to remove the cat filter. He added that his assistant was there and tried to remove it but that he was willing to go ahead anyway.

The 69-year-old lawyer reassured the judge he was present, then clarified that he was not a cat. More than seven million people have already viewed the 42-second clip.

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Attorney Rod Ponton during an interview with BBC News. | Photo: YouTube/BBC News

Attorney Rod Ponton during an interview with BBC News. | Photo: YouTube/BBC News

In an interview with PEOPLE, Ponton, who has been practicing law for more than 40 years, explained that he doesn't know how the Zoom filter became active once he opened the app.

Ponton said he was using his secretary's laptop at the time, and she also did not know anything about the cat filter. But given that he was in a district court hearing, he said he tried to take the filter off.

In the end, Ponton said the filter was removed, and the hearing carried on happily.

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Since the COVID-19 started last year, schools and employers have adopted video conferencing in place of face-to-face meetings. But, as Ponton's example shows, the plan does not always work out.

In another interview, Ponton said he didn't know that a cat Zoom would turn him into an internet celebrity in just a matter of hours, noting that the incident made everyone chuckle around the country.

Screenshot of comments from Cecily Tynan's post. | Photo: Facebook/Cecily Tynan

Screenshot of comments from Cecily Tynan's post. | Photo: Facebook/Cecily Tynan

In the end, Ponton said the filter was removed, and the hearing carried on happily. He added that it took him a while to get used to the flood of calls and emails he received after that video was published.

Another interview with Ponton revealed that the district court hearing involved a man trying to illegally detain and leave the United States with contraband and illicit cash.

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Screenshot of comments from Cecily Tynan's post. | Photo: Facebook/Cecily Tynan

Screenshot of comments from Cecily Tynan's post. | Photo: Facebook/Cecily Tynan

In related news, the Zoom town council meeting, which turned chaotic after people started trading insults and removing each other from the call, also went viral.

The video of the Handforth Parish Council meeting has been shared thousands of times on social media. The original footage was posted online on the Cheshire Council website.

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