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 May 2, 2023

Minnesota Republican Calvin Bahr shows up for Zoom meeting shirtless

Minnesota state Sen. Calvin Bahr had an embarrassing moment when he showed up shirtless during a Zoom call Monday, the Washington Examiner reported. The Republican lawmaker was participating in a short Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor's meeting but was not camera-ready.

The call was uneventful until an apparent roll call for a vote when Bahr's name was mentioned. When he responded with a simple "Yes," Bahr's video feed flashed briefly on the screen.

A bare-chested Bahr appeared to be lying on his side in bed with just a blanket over his midsection. To add to the awkwardness of the moment, his virtual background was a scene from Schoolhouse Rock's "I'm Just a Bill."

After about a second, Bahr's video feed changed to a black screen with his name in white letters. A spokesperson for the state senator explained that Bahr, who is a truck driver, had worked until 4:45 a.m. that day and had been asleep before the meeting, The Hill reported.

While somewhat embarrassing, this blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment on a video call is not unique to Bahr. In February 2021, Presidio County, Texas, attorney Rod Ponton went viral after he made a virtual court appearance while his video feed was overlayed with a cat filter, the New York Times reported.

He attempted to go on with the proceedings, but presiding Judge Roy Ferguson told Ponton that he had a problem with his video. "Mr. Ponton, I believe you have a filter turned on in the video settings," the judge explained.

Ponton, appearing on the screen as a white fluffy feline, attempted to rectify the situation. "Can you hear me, Judge?" Ponton asked. “I don’t know how to remove it," he said.

"I’ve got my assistant here and she’s trying to," Ponton further explained. "I’m prepared to go forward with it," he added, attempting to keep up the professionalism.

"I'm here live. I'm not a cat," Ponton said, uttering the line that made the interaction an instant internet hit.

"I can see that," the judge returned. For his part, Ponton was good-natured about the whole thing.

"If I can make the country chuckle for a moment in these difficult times they’re going through, I’m happy to let them do that at my expense," he told the Times. It seems both Bahr and Ponton made harmless mistakes that left them red-faced but no worse for wear.

However, things were much different for CNN's Jeffrey Toobin. The network's chief analyst was ousted from the network after video footage emerged of him exposing himself during a Zoom call with colleagues in October 2020, CNN Business reported.

Toobin apparently believed his camera was off and began masturbating on a separate video call. Despite the gravity and utter humiliation of such a scene that was made public, CNN welcomed him back on the air months later.

Bahr certainly had a moment that he'd likely rather forget. However, his political career will no doubt survive this as many people can relate to having technical difficulties or logging into a call bleary-eyed.

Written By:
Christine Favocci

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