Texas cat lawyer: ‘In hindsight, it’s provided a laugh for the country’

'I did not know that Zoom could turn me into a cat,' Rod Ponton says

Louise Hall
Wednesday 10 February 2021 12:52
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'Cat lawyer' Rod Ponton on his use of filter
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A Texas lawyer who went viral after his Zoom camera got stuck on a filter of a kitten during a court appearance has spoken out about the incident, saying he was happy it had “provided a laugh.”

County Attorney Rod Ponton caused a stir on social media on Tuesday after he made a surprise appearance on the call with a feline filter, and could not figure how to remove it.

Now, looking back on the incident, Mr Ponton has said “as it turns out, in hindsight, it's provided a good laugh for the country.”

In an interview with BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday, he said: “Because I think anybody that's ever struggled with a computer with Zoom can recognise that those kind of things could happen."

He added: “It certainly did happen to me.” 

Mr Ponton explained to the radio station that he was in a different office than his usual one and had logged on to his secretary's computer “to represent the state in a routine hearing.” 

“When the judge called the case I disappeared and a cat appeared instead of me to my great surprise of course,” he said.

“I think everybody who’s seen the video can understand my consternation at what was going on because I’m a lawyer trying to present a case to the court.” 

Mr Ponton said that they finally figured out how to get rid of the cat video, saying everyone on the call was "scratching their heads" at the absurd incident.

“I did not know that Zoom could turn me into a cat and I did not know that a cat Zoom could turn me into an internet celebrity. But it all happened in just a matter of hours.”

The short video clip shows Mr Ponton’s mouth and eyes of the cat moving along with his words and movements while others coached him on how to remove the cat filter.

"I don't know how to remove it, I got my assistant here, she's trying to," Mr Ponton says in the clip, adding: "I'm here live, I'm not a cat."

The Judge on the call, Roy Ferguson, presides over a number of counties in West Texas, close to the town of Marfa and the Mexican border.

He shared the video online in a humorous warning to computer users to check their filters before meetings.

He said: "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.

“Everyone involved handled it with dignity, and the filtered lawyer showed incredible grace. True professionalism all around!"

The video quickly drew attention online with many users poking fun at the light-hearted moment on Twitter.

Last week, on the other side of the Atlantic, another Zoom meeting went viral after a recording showed it descending into chaos, with councillors trading insults and removing each other from the call.

One of the meeting's participants, Jackie Weaver, trended on Twitter and appeared in several interviews with major news outlets across the UK in the days since in an attempt to explain the disarray.

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