It’s been almost a year since many workplaces transitioned away from face-to-face meetings to predominantly remote conferencing. And still, people often struggle with finicky videoconferencing. Few, however, have problems as breathtaking as a lawyer who appeared at a remote court hearing with a cat filter.
On Monday, lawyer Rod Ponton appeared at a virtual court hearing in the 39th district of Texas. Or he tried to appear — but it was a cat, virtually generated using a filter, that appeared in his place.
The case itself was about civil forfeiture — a topic that cats are not known to be experts on.
After joining the meeting, Ponton’s cat avatar asked if the court could hear him.
“I can hear you … I think it’s a filter,” Judge Roy B Ferguson replied.
Ponton acknowledged that it was indeed a filter but said he didn’t know how to get rid of it.
“I’ve got my assistant here and she’s trying to remove it but … I’m prepared to go forward with it. I’m here live, I’m not a cat,” he said.
Before too long, they were able to take off the filter and proceed as normal.
Later, Ponton explained exactly how it happened that he attended court as a feline.
“Oh, that was just a mistake by my secretary,” he told Vice.
“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.”
Let this be a lesson to all: always test out your videoconferencing set up before you join something important, lest you accidentally turn up to court as a lawyer with a cat filter.