Wednesday Feb 10, 2021
Judge Roy Ferguson of the District Court in Texas was in for a surprise as he logged in on Zoom to begin virtual proceedings on Tuesday.
Due to connect with three lawyers, what he saw, instead, was two lawyers and a kitten.
The cute blue-eyed “cat” in the bottom right corner was actually county attorney Rod Ponton, covered by a filter.
“Mr Ponton, I believe you have filter turned on in the video settings,” said the judge.
Ponton said his assistant was trying to fix the settings.
“I’m here live, I’m not a cat,” he said.
“I can see that,” said the judge.
As the video went viral on social media, Ferguson wrote in a tweet: “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.”
The 69-year-old Ponton told Reuters that he was not sure how the filter had appeared.
“I logged into my secretary’s computer to appear at this hearing via Zoom, and when everybody’s ready the judge calls the case and everybody’s face is supposed to pop up on Zoom.
“And everybody’s face popped up except mine. Mine was a cat,” he said.
The judge helped remove the filter and the hearing proceeded, he explained.
Judge Ferguson called it a “fun moment.”
“Everyone involved handled it with dignity, and the filtered lawyer showed incredible grace,” he said.
The incident brought to memory a similar goof-up in Pakistan in 2019, when the Facebook stream of then Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai as he was speaking with journalists, showed him sporting cat ears, nose and whiskers.
A member of his social media team had accidentally activated the filter on the social network.
Comments started pouring in as Facebook users noticed pink cat-like ears and whiskers had appeared on the heads of the minister and two accompanying officials.
Yousafzai confirmed the incident and told AFP it happened by accident.
"The cat filter was turned on by mistake" Yousafzai said but "let's not take everything so seriously".
"I wasn't the only one — two officials sitting along me were also hit by the cat filter," he joked.