Zoom Fails: 10 Best Moments Working From Home During Coronavirus Outbreak

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Woman on video conferencing call
Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

With Zoom, the video conferencing website and app, finding new popularity as people around the world self-isolate at home amid the coronavirus pandemic, some users are still finding their way around the meeting tool and others like it.

And, one person’s learning curve is another person’s entertainment!

Although there have been reports of security issues with Zoom, the tool's users have brought laughter to many around the globe, from the boss who appeared as a potato through an entire meeting, to the woman who accidentally went to the bathroom with her camera still running.

Here are some of our favorite virtual meeting goofs.

Miss Potato Head

Lizet Ocampo, the political director at People for the American Way, recently turned up to her Monday morning meeting as a potato. Ocampo had downloaded the filter, along with other fun looks, for a virtual happy hour the Friday beforehand, but forget she had done so. "So Monday morning, we had our meeting and I usually try to do a camera, and when we started the meeting, I saw myself as a potato. I was so confused as to why I was a potato. Of all the things I could be, why a potato?" she said, according to BuzzFeed News, adding that she could not figure out how to remove the filter. "I just kind of gave up and stayed as a potato for the rest of the call."

One of the call’s participants shared a screenshot of the meeting, before noting that Ocampo was fine with her posting the image and that her job was safe after they “hashed” it out. Ocampo then urged her newfound potato-loving following to stay home. “I yam potato boss. Please stay planted at home,” she tweeted.


Pee Break

A Zoomer named Jennifer didn’t let her meeting get in the way of needing to pee. However, she was left red-faced when she took her laptop into the bathroom with her and forgot to turn the camera off. In a video clip shared from the meeting, Jennifer can be seen walking through the house beforre pulling down her pants and plopping herself down on the toilet. After peers gasped and giggled, she turned the camera away before asking, “What happened?”

“Poor Jennifer,” one person observed.

However, the gaffe has been a hit, even igniting the hashtag #poorjennifer. "I honestly hope poor Jennifer knows she is a goddamn national treasure for providing us all with such laughter in the middle of a global pandemic," wrote one social media user.

Kids Say the Darndest Things

In 2017, Robert Kelly, an associate professor of political science, was speaking to BBC News about South Korean president Park Geun-hye’s exit when his young kids rolled in behind him. The hilarious clip went viral and earned him the nickname “BBC Dad.”

Three years later, parents working from home around the globe can relate to Kelly. Take Pineapple Media co-founder Jenna Weiss-Berman, whose 3-year-old son had something to say during her recent video conference. “My kid just walked into my video conference, yelled ‘look at my penis,’ and hit the button on his fart machine. Working from home going really great!” she shared on Twitter.

Naked Towel Dash

Health care and crisis communicator Christina Kerby made a dash to the linen closet to grab a towel, not realizing she would be seen on her husband’s video call. “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,” she tweeted.

Young Danny DeVito

Roll call! Danny DeVito? Present! A young boy set his background to DeVito’s enlarged, smiling face during a school meeting. The boy’s mom, Tracy, shared a snap of the moment on Twitter. “My son discovered the virtual background setting during his Zoom class meeting,” she explained. “I was in the other room and I heard his teacher say ‘Who turned themselves into Danny DeVito?’ I was like, ‘Oh no...' #SomeGoodNews.”

Confetti Sermon

There’s never a bad time for confetti! Paolo Longo, a parish priest of the Church of San Pietro and San Benedetto di Polla in Italy, accidentally activated face filters while preaching via a Facebook Live session. Soon he was seen surrounded by headgear, weights, hats and gold confetti as he continued to speak. “Even a laugh is good,” he later wrote, addressing the blunder.

Who Farted?

While many mishaps have stemmed from cameras being left on or forgotten about, for Yvette Chua, the problem was forgetting to mute her microphone before letting some gas out “really loudly.” “WFH Day 3: Was in a 15 person online meeting, thought I was muted, farted really loudly.......... sh*t 💩,” she said, owning the moment on Twitter.

Pet Talk

In another microphone blunder, Daniel Taroy started up a conversation with his cat in the middle of a large conference call. “Just started talking to my cat in the middle of a 68-person zoom meeting -- and i wasn't muted!!! send the meteor!!!!” he tweeted, before adding, “To clarify, i said the words ‘no mama’ to my cat and my colleagues : ))).”

Inappropriate Decor

Gareth Barlow, a senior reporter at BBC World, indicated he had learned the hard way that his “gold and glittery” piece of art by Damien Weighill may not have been the best backdrop for his professional calls. “If you do WFH and have a Skype meeting, always consider if the 'art' on the wall is: A) In shot B) Appropriate,” he tweeted alongside a snap with the illustration, which he bought in a gallery in North London and involves a cow and a human.

Belly-Baring Dad

Suncoast News Network anchor and reporter Jessica Lang was not impressed when her father walked into shot, rubbing his belly. “What did you do mom?” she questioned, after her mother (who was presumably filming her) signaled something was wrong. “Dad! Holy crap!” she then exclaimed, mortified. She later shared the clip on Twitter, writing, “Work from home they said, it’ll be fine they said.”

The journalist then responded to a user who pointed out it was her dad’s house by writing, “This was take 28 lol it was a struggle lol!”

Meanwhile, although it was more of a prank than a gaffe, an Australian producer’s witty move also deserves a mention -- Dan Crowd no doubt raised eyebrows when he appeared to walk into his own video call. According to the New York Post, the Sydneysider created a tailored Zoom background which featured Crowd walking through the door in the middle of the call.       

See more video-calling gaffes below.

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