Another Zoom meeting mishap is cracking up the internet after a lawyer showed up to a virtual court hearing as an adorable kitten and had trouble figuring out how to turn the filter off. The incident was captured on video and is now spreading like wildfire as people laugh at attorney Rod Ponton, now forever dubbed the “cat lawyer.”
The brief video clip shows two humans — a judge and presumably another lawyer—and the sad face of an adorable little kitten. The kitten’s mouth begins to move and the eyes look toward the bottom of the screen as Ponton scrambles to turn it off, but he doesn’t know how.
“Mr. Ponton I believe you have a filter turned on in your video settings,” says Judge Roy B. Ferguson.
“Uh, we’re trying to, can you hear me judge?” says Ponton through the cat.
“I can hear you,” Ferguson replies. “I think it’s a filter.”
“It is and I don’t know how to remove it,” Ponton said. “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.”
At this point, Mr. Jerry L. Phillips, who up until this point remained very serious, can’t help but laugh.
“I can see that,” says Ferguson.
Perhaps even funnier is the warning in the top left corner that recording the hearing is “prohibited” and “may constitute contempt of court and result in a fine of up to $500 and a jail term of up to 180 days.” Don’t worry, however, as the recording appears to have been originally posted by the 394th District Court of Texas itself on YouTube.
Luckily for Ponton, Judge Ferguson seems to have been pretty cool about the whole mishap, even referencing it on his Twitter account with a link to the YouTube video.
“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!”
Vice was able to contact Ponton about the mishap, and he blamed his secretary rather than any children.
“Oh, that was just a mistake by my secretary,” he said. “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.”
Sure, Ponton. It’s your secretary who uses adorable cat filters on their Zoom calls. We believe you.
Regardless of who was responsible for the cat lawyer, the people of Twitter would like to thank them for making this happen.