Texas lawyer unable to remove kitten filter on Zoom asks judge if he may proceed: ‘I'm here live, I'm not a cat’

Acclaimed Texas lawyer Rod Ponton, who accidentally morphed into a wide-eyed baby cat on a Zoom video call, started to trend on Twitter as 'cat lawyer'

                            Texas lawyer unable to remove kitten filter on Zoom asks judge if he may proceed: ‘I'm here live, I'm not a cat’
Kitten Zoom Filter Mishap (394th District Court of Texas - Live Stream/YouTube)

Rod Ponton -- an acclaimed lawyer from Texas started to trend on Twitter as “cat lawyer” after a hilarious technical mishap during a court hearing. Ponton virtually arrived at court in the 394th district from his assistant’s computer and was shocked to see a cat filter was turned on.

Despite his best efforts, Ponton couldn’t turn off the filter. Even his assistant tried helping him, but their efforts did not result in anything. Hon. Judge Roy B. Ferguson said during the court hearing: “Mr. Ponton, I believe you have a filter turned on in your video settings.” To this, Ponton replies, “Can you hear me, judge?” Judge Ferguson answered: “I can hear you. I think it’s a filter.”


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A cat is seen on a table during a video call on May 27, 2020, in Milan, Italy. (Getty Images)

“I’m not a cat”

After multiple failed attempts, Ponton says, “It is and I don’t know how to remove it. 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.”

After the video surfaced online, the word “cat lawyer” started to trend everywhere. Several people on Twitter had hilarious responses to this mishap. One user wrote, "'I'm here live. I'm not a cat.' A lawyer logged into the 394th Judicial District with a cat filter on and couldn't turn it off. This may be the funniest video I've seen this year.” Another tweeted: "the lawyer cat guy is the closest we will ever come to ace attorney being real". Another user wrote, "Me Jan 6th: "Our government may be falling apart on live TV. I'm not getting any work done." Me today "A lawyer couldn't figure out how to remove the cat filter on Zoom. I'm not getting any work done."




While talking to Motherboard, Ponton clarified as to what went wrong during the hearing. As per the lawyer, he was using his assistant’s computer, and for some reason, she had a cat’s filter on it. He also talked about the case for which he got into the Zoom call with the judge.

“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," Ponton said.

Even Judge Ferguson took to Twitter to address the issue. He wrote: “If a child used your computer, before you join a virtual hearing check the Zoom Video Options to be sure filters are off. This kitten just made a formal announcement on a case in the 394th.”


The judge further discussed the tough times and how lawyers are trying to make the best of unconventional work settings caused by the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

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


Judge Ferguson has also granted media outlets to use the video. He wrote, "Media outlets, you may use the video. It was recorded during a virtual hearing in the 394th DC of TX, and released for educational purposes."


Ponton told NBC News that this technical mishap is an example of what can happen in our “computer connected world.”

Apparently, this is not the first time such a mishap has taken place over Zoom call. In October 2020, The New Yorker magazine suspended one of its long-time staff writers, Jeffrey Toobin, after allegedly masturbating during a Zoom work call. Toobin said in a statement that he “made an embarrassingly stupid mistake, believing I was off-camera.”

He added: “I apologize to my wife, family, friends and co-workers. I thought I had muted the Zoom video, I thought no one on the Zoom call could see me.”

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