The Worst Zoom Accidents and Faux Pas of the Pandemic

With cameras on us now more than ever there was bound to be some incidents

Image via Unsplash- Chris Montgomery

The Covid-19 pandemic quickly injected new and unexpected norms into our lives. Once of the most prevalent has been Zoom, the video teleconference and online chat service that has been taken advantage of by so many given its convenience to conduct business and personal interactions from afar. With the increased use of and reliance on this technology, it was inevitable that there would be some unfortunate incidents.

The School Board Member’s Bathroom Break: Frances Cogelja, a Woodland Park, New Jersey school board member, had been under fire during their tenure for their controversial views on a school LGBT curriculum and for initially refusing to approve an anti-racism board resolution as a show of community support.

The administrator’s controversial tenure recently came to an abrupt end following her resignation. The reason for her departure was that she accidentally broadcast a bathroom break she took during a board meeting that was being conducted on Zoom. As it turns out, one might be able to survive unpopular opinions and actions, but it’s hard to overcome going to the bathroom on video in front of your colleagues.

Doesn’t That Beat All: Jeffrey Toobin, long-time writer for The New Yorker, was suspended and ultimately fired after allegedly being seen masturbating during a work Zoom call. The incident supposedly occurred when the scribe, believing he was off camera, was visibly seen by colleagues in the act of self-pleasuring. After the publication conducted a thorough investigation, they cut ties with him, prompting him to tweet, “I was fired today by @NewYorker after 27 years as a Staff Writer. I will always love the magazine, will miss my colleagues, and will look forward to reading their work.”

Hot Potato!: Zoom is so much more than just a tele-video conference tool. There are ways to play with how you are seen, including backgrounds and face spoofing. Rachele Clegg on Twitter posted a hilarious video that showed how her boss had set her Zoom up to display her face as a “talking potato,” but then was couldn’t figure out how to revert back to regular video once the joke was over. Instead, she had to spend the entirety of the meeting as a spud.

The Mad Dash: If there is any possibility of a Zoom call going on in one’s home, it’s always a good idea to be aware and understand the range of the camera on said call. Christina Kerby, a health care and crisis communicator learned this the hard way. When her husband was on a call, she was just out of the shower and desperately needing a towel that was in a linen closet, which was visible over his shoulder. Confident in her abilities of swiftness, she made a dash and went for it. As she later explained on Twitter, “Pro-tip: if you and your husband are both working from home, check to see if he’s on a four-way video call BEFORE running past the office naked to get a towel from the linen closet. #RealStory #COVID19 #WFH.”

Naked and Not Afraid: Mexican senator Martha Lucia Micher Camarena thought she had her camera off earlier this year when she was part of a Zoom government meeting. She believed was participating via audio only when she stripped and began changing for another engagement. It was only after colleagues notified her that her camera was actually still on and that she could still be seen that realized her gaffe. For her part, she was in no mood to apologize or be embarrassed about the incident, tweeting, “I am Malu Mícher, and I am not ashamed to have shown by accident a part of my intimacy. I am a woman of 66 years of age who has breastfed four children, three of whom are today professional and responsible men, and I feel proud of my body for having nourished them.”

Dabbler in history & writing. Master’s degree in baseball history. Passionate about diversity, culture, sports, investing and education.

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