Minnesota Republican Appears Shirtless During Zoom Vote

A Minnesota state senator was caught in a compromising position during a virtual legislative session on Monday.

Minnesota State Senator Calvin Bahr was voting via Zoom during a Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor Zoom meeting and, when it was his time to vote, he was seen on screen for a split-second voting “yes” while partially topless and covered with a blanket.

A background still of School House Rock’s famous I’m Just a Bill can be seen behind Bahr as he votes. The lawmaker, who was elected to his current position in 2022 following three terms as a state representative, seemed stunned to be on camera.

After he appeared and voting continued, individuals in different panels can be seen smiling and attempting to hold back laughter. Bahr seemed to catch himself in the moment, quickly shutting off the camera to display only his name.

Newsweek reached out to Bahr via email for comment.

Minnesota State Capitol
Minnesota State Senator Calvin Bahr was voting via Zoom during a virtual Zoom session on Monday when he was shown partially topless on camera. It drew some smirks and laughs from others in the meeting.
J. Ferrer/Getty

Zoom mishaps are not new and accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic when people in work settings often had no option to meet in person.

Jeffrey Toobin, a lawyer and former longtime CNN legal analyst who spent about 20 years on the network, made national headlines in October 2020 when he was caught masturbating on a live video feed.

It happened while he was participating in an election simulation with staff from The New Yorker and radio station WNYC ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

One month later, Toobin was fired by The New Yorker after approximately 30 years at the magazine. He was also put on an eight-month hiatus from CNN, where he returned in June 2021 and called his actions “deeply moronic and indefensible.” He later left the network permanently in August 2022.

Minnesota Sen. Calvin Bahr
Minnesota State Senator Calvin Bahr (R) appeared to be shirtless during a virtual legislation vote on Monday, May 1, 2023.
Minnesota Senate

Last August, former Alaska governor and House candidate Sarah Palin was participating in a Native Peoples Action candidate forum broadcast on Zoom when she was interrupted by the drawing of a penis that took over the screen.

When event organizers attempted to apologize for the mishap, labeled as a “Zoom bomb,” an unidentified voice became audible and called Palin derogatory words.

Arguably the most infamous webcam footage occurred in the years prior to the pandemic, now known ubiquitously as “BBC Dad.”

Professor Robert Kelly was conducting an interview with the BBC in March 2017 when both of his children entered the closed room, attracting Kelly’s attention while he still attempted to partake in a real-time interview.

Kelly’s wife can later be seen running into the room to collect the children and attempt to salvage her husband’s interview.

The pandemic aided Zoom’s profits in a gigantic way. Zoom Video Communications’ revenue in 2020 was $622.7 million, up 88 percent from the previous year.

However, Zoom settled a privacy lawsuit in 2021 for $85 million related to security concerns—or more specifically, allegations that the Silicon Valley company shared users’ personal information with platforms like Facebook, Google and Microsoft-owned LinkedIn.

While many workers have returned to their offices or places of work, numerous others continue to utilize Zoom from their work-from-home roles.

A poll of 1,500 eligible voters in the U.S. conducted in March for Newsweek by Redfield & Wilton Strategies found that millennials, typically born between 1981 and 1996, find it “rude” to leave cameras off during work meetings.

Older American workers, or those aged 55 to 64, were least likely to find any issue with cameras off during meetings.

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