The coronavirus pandemic has forced court proceedings to go online and although video conferencing has become the new norm some people are still struggling to keep up with technology.
A Texas lawyer accidentally turned on a cat filter during a video conference call on Zoom with a District Court judge and decided to proceed anyway as he was unable to switch back to his original self in a video that has gone viral on social media.
Cattorney at Law?
Presidio County attorney Rod Ponton appeared before Judge Roy B. Ferguson of the 394th Judicial District Court in a Zoom hearing on Tuesday in the form of a wide-eyed fluffy filter-generated kitten. The small, white and brown digital feline could be seen darting its eyes back and forth and opening its mouth when the lawyer spoke.
Addressing the lawyer's unusual appearance, Judge Ferguson suggested that Ponton alter his Zoom settings. "I believe you have a filter turned on in the video settings. You might want to...," he says to Ponton before the lawyer-turned-kitten cuts him off in a panicked drawl. "Can you hear me, judge?" he asks.
"I can hear you, I think it's a filter," the judge responds.
"It is," Ponton says. "And I don't know how to remove it. I've got my assistant here, she's trying to, but I'm prepared to go forward with it ... I'm here live. I'm not a cat."
"I can see that," the judge asserts. Watch the video below:
The clip has gone viral on Twitter with more than 19 million views on the platform and thousands of comments from users reacting to the (cat)astrophe. Here are some of the posts:
Judge Ferguson, Ponton Address the Mishap
Shortly after the incident went viral, Judge Ferguson took to Twitter and used the mishap as a teaching moment while praising Ponton for his professionalism.
"These fun moments are a by-product of the legal profession's dedication to ensuring that the justice system continues to function in these tough times," he wrote in a follow-up tweet.. "Everyone involved handled it with dignity, and the filtered lawyer showed incredible grace. True professionalism all around!"
Ponton said he was forced to use his secretary's computer because the office was in the midst of a move but took the viral incident in good spirits. "If I can make the country chuckle for a moment in these difficult times they're going through, I'm happy to let them do that at my expense," he said in an interview with the New York Times.