The cat, the lawyer and 8 other hilarious Zoom mishaps and video-conferencing fails

You'd think we'd be more adept at using video-conferencing platforms by now

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We've all been guilty of mass circulating videos of people messing up on Zoom over the past 10 months or so, since the world began working from home.

One might think we'd be more adept at using the popular video-conferencing platform by now, but only this week Presidio County Attorney Rod Ponton in Texas managed to attend a court hearing as a fluffy white doe-eyed kitten.

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

“I can see that,” replied the presiding judge.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the footage has since gone viral.

So, in honour of this hilarious mishap, we reminisce on some of the other best Zoom and video-conferencing fails we've seen over the past few months.

1. The one with Mrs Potato Head

Very early on in the pandemic, in March 2020, social media user Rachele Clegg tweeted about one of the first video meetings to go truly viral.

"My boss turned herself into a potato on our Microsoft teams meeting and can't figure out how to turn the setting off, so she was just stuck like this the entire meeting," Clegg wrote alongside a screen grab of the meeting.

Her boss, Lizet Ocampo, has a pretty serious job, as she's the political director at non-profit People for the American Way, but thankfully, she saw the humour despite the fact that the tweet now has almost one million likes.

Ocampo replied: "I yam potato boss. You should see me in a crown, right @billieeilish? I yam glad this is making folks laugh at this time. Please stay planted at home and safe!"

2. The one with BBC Dad

Long before the pandemic and when Zoom became everyone's go-to work platform, BBC correspondent Robert Kelly experienced a rather embarrassing mishap of his own.

It happened in 2017, when the associate professor of political science at Pusan National University in South Korea was speaking live from his home office about the ouster of the country's then-president Park Geun-hye.

As Kelly was speaking, one of his children strolled jovially into the room. As he pushed her away, apologising for the intrusion, his baby toddled in in a walker, followed closely by a frantic mum trying desperately to scoop them up.

The "hippity hoppity" strut his daughter Marion, who was 4 at the time, displayed has since become a meme for confidently walking into a room.

Kelly has since become widely known as "BBC Dad".

3. The one with the Italian priest

Paolo Longo of the Church of San Pietro and San Benedetto di Polla in Italy is no stranger to the pitfalls of social media filters.

The parish priest was right in the middle of a rather solemn mass being held over Facebook Live in March last year when he accidentally switched some face filters on. Soon enough, he was donning some pretty futuristic headgear, lifting cartoon weights and surrounded by gold confetti.

The video has since had millions of views.

Thankfully, he saw the funny side, later writing: "Even a laugh is good."

4. The one with the cat lady and Lords

As British trade policy leader Sally Jones is about to answer a very serious question from Lord Cavendish of Furness about Brexit in a House of Lords session last June, she's interrupted by her cat.

"OK, I should first explain, I'm really sorry, my cat has managed to open my kitchen door and is trying to get on my lap," she says in a cool, calm and collected way, teaching us all a thing or two about how to handle such potentially embarrassing intrusions.

"It may be easier just to let him do that, rather than for me to keep trying to bat him away.

"I'm really, really sorry your Lordships."

Lord Cavendish simply says, "Welcome cat", before Jones attempts to answer his question while continuing to stroke her pet.

5. The one with Boris Johnson

While most of the other entries on this list are rather light-hearted, the UK Prime Minister sparked real national security concerns last year when he accidentally revealed a Zoom meeting ID number on Twitter.

"This morning I chaired the first ever digital Cabinet," he wrote obliviously, as he shared a photograph of his screen, which contained the private code in the top lefthand corner, as well as the usernames of some ministers taking part.

"Our message to the public is: stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives," he continued.

The British leader was self-isolating at the time, after testing positive for Covid-19. While Downing Street insisted the online gathering was password protected and still secure, a cybersecurity expert told The Metro newspaper that the tweet broke a key rule when using this type of technology.

"In the worst-case scenario, the meeting ID will be reused, the meeting is not protected by a password, and an eavesdropper is able to join. Likewise, Mr Johnson’s colleagues might get unsolicited and unwanted email."

6. The one with the UAE minister

Reem Al Hashimy, the UAE's Minister of State for International Co-operation, also had a serious moment unintentionally interrupted by her young son.

As she was speaking during the UN's Yemen aid conference, her little one, Hazza, walked in and leaned on her shoulder, looking for a hug.

Mark Lowcock, UN undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs, seemed to enjoy the unexpected appearance, giving us a chuckle.

Al Hashimy smiled and stormed on through her speech like a pro.

7. The one with the dog and the weatherman

Fox 13 meteorologist Paul Dellegatto gave viewers a rather unorthodox weather report from his Tampa Bay home back in April 2020 after his dog, Brody, decided he wanted to join in.

The poor pooch "whacked the computer with his head", Dellegatto said, explaining he could no longer show any weather maps.

Determined to do his job come rain or shine, Dellegatto said: "Let me just verbalise the forecast," which he did.

While he continued to pet Brody throughout the segment, the dog's master did slightly chastise him, saying: "That wasn't very smart."

Then, when Brody yawned, Dellegatto quipped in a deadpan voice: "Didn’t mean to keep you up."

8. The one with the two biscuits

Foreign affairs editor Deborah Haynes also fell victim to her children's whims during a live report for Sky News last summer.

She was speaking about political developments in Hong Kong when her son Charlie, 4, gatecrashed the broadcast for something very important: to ask if he could have two biscuits.

"Yes, you can have two biscuits," Haynes said quickly, as she apologised.

The scene quickly cut back to the studio, as the broadcaster announced they'd leave Haynes to deal with her family duties, highlighting the difficulties of reporting from home during lockdown.


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