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Bloomington Transit meeting 'Zoombombed' with porn, slurs during COVID-19 updates



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The Bloomington Public Transit Corporation meets in a videoconference Friday to update the community on how public transportation is changing to avoid the spread of COVID-19. The videoconference was "Zoombombed" by two or three people during the meeting. Photo illustration by Ty Vinson

A Bloomington Public Transit video conference was interrupted Friday by two or three random people sharing porn and saying racial slurs. The people were kicked out of the meeting. 

Members of the Bloomington Public Transit Corporation met to update the community on how public transportation is changing to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

While resident Denise Valkyrie asked questions about tracking ridership, two or three random people entered the videoconference and screen-shared pornography, said racial slurs, moaned and made sexual innuendos toward Valkyrie.

Zoombombing, when a random person enters a public Zoom call and uses the screen-sharing and messaging function to share graphic content, is on the rise as the app's popularity is skyrocketing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most of the random users were kicked out of the call and the meeting continued. One random person remained until almost the end of the meeting, making moaning noises and saying racial slurs periodically. 

Valkyrie said she has had experience working with Zoom for a few years and has witnessed many conferences get Zoombombed. She said it’s not good to share meeting information in a mass email list.

“Hope you can edit that out or maybe it will be in there for posterity about how life was during this time,” resident Victoria Burke said in the Zoom chat. 

During the meeting, the group also discussed ridership being down on Bloomington Transit. Zac Huneck, planning and special projects manager for Bloomington Transit, said that’s a good thing.

“Passengers are doing a great job at only taking those vital trips,” Huneck said. 

Eli McCormick, customer service manager for Bloomington Transit, said buses are sanitized daily with an electrostatic sprayer machine. Passengers are advised to wear masks and stand six feet apart on the buses. He said masks are provided to bus drivers. 

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