New online normal and its toll: Lawyer at hearing as a cat

News - Feb 18, 2021

The piece of news that the whole world has been talking about in the past seven days is both funny and sad. Namely, a lawyer from Texas, who is not very familiar with using new technologies, ‘appeared’ as a kitten on a trial via an app. As it turned out, his son had been playing on a computer before that and turned on a feline filter on the Zoom app (a cat’s head and human eyes and mouth, so the cat moves the way the speaker does), but he forgot to turn it off.

When his father had a hearing and turned on the app, he did not know how to turn off the filter. The video became viral and actually demonstrated how the world fundamentally changed when forced to function online.

In the Zoom video, judge Roy Ferguson addressed the ‘kitten’.

I believe you have a filter turned on in the video settings. You might want to… – said the judge, interrupted by a panicky voice of the lawyer coming out from the kitten’s mouth.

– I don’t know how to remove it. I’ve got my assistant here, she’s trying to, but I’m prepared to go forward with it…

At one point, he thought he should convince the judge that he was a really human being.

– I’m here live. I’m not a cat – said the lawyer.

– I can see that – the judge reassured him.

Judge Ferguson shared the video on his Twitter account and offered some advice.

’If a child used your computer, before you join a virtual hearing check the Zoom Video Options to be sure filters are off,’ he wrote.

It is interesting to note that there are no negative reactions to this video, since it is a really unique and unprecedented case. However, there are always those who cannot wait to comment negatively on every failure, honest mistake and omission, but everyone commented on this video in the spirit of empathy and understanding. It seems that the pandemic brought at least something good: we became more tolerant of issues imposed by the ‘new normal’.



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