“I am not a cat” U.S. lawyer tells judge

Arthur Greene

Rod Ponton, an American lawyer, has taken the internet by storm after he became trapped in a video conference with a cat face filter that turned him into a kitten during a meeting with a judge.

In the 49-second video, Mr Ponton appears in the bottom right corner of a Zoom call. His head is covered in white fur and his large kitten eyes desperately dart around as he tries – and fails – to remove the filter.

He is joined in the conference by two stoney-faced lawyers and a judge, Roy Ferguson. The judge is not seen on the screen.

In the opposite corner to the feline Ponton is a stern black and white notice reading “Recording of this hearing or live stream is prohibited.”

After a few moments’ silence, Judge Ferguson eventually says  “Mr Ponton, I believe you have a filter turned on in the video settings, you might want to -”

“Ahhh. Can you hear me, judge?” the “cat” nervously replies.

Ferguson responds: “I can hear you. I think it’s a filter…”

“It is and I don’t know how to remove it,” said Ponton who said his assistant was trying to help him as well. He said he was prepared to go ahead with the call.

“I’m here, live. I’m not a cat,” said Ponton

At this point, one of the stone-faced lawyers, Jerry L. Phillips, looks ready to burst out laughing, but manages instead to show a sympathetic smile.

The other lawyer, H. Gibbs Bauer, remains steely behind a pair of dark glasses.

Afterwards, Ferguson clearly recognised the whole incident as a teachable moment, tweeting: “If a child used your computer, before you join a virtual hearing, check the Zoom video options to be sure filters are off.”

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

Video source: @BBCBreakfast