Ohio politician takes a video call while driving, tries to hide it with a virtual background

The whole thing went about as well as you might expect.

Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt
2 min read

Brenner (middle row, right) can be seen with a seatbelt on despite his virtual background.

The Ohio Channel

Over the past year, video calls have become the primary way that many businesses have meetings, and of course, as with any shift in technology, there have been issues. Whether it's an indecent-exposure incident or something quirkier along the lines of "I'm not a cat," there's clearly still work to do.

For example, it would be a bad idea to take a video call while driving -- and another bad idea to attempt to virtual-background your way to making your coworkers think you're not currently a road hazard. Unfortunately, that's what Ohio state Sen. Andrew Brenner seems to have done, according to a report published Thursday by Gizmodo, though the results are thankfully funny rather than tragic.

In some scenes from the recorded call, you can clearly see Brenner in his vehicle, and in others, you see him looking into the ether with a home office virtual background behind him. The kicker is that in part of the virtual background portion you can see Brenner's seatbelt.

Brenner, in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch, downplayed the seriousness of his actions, saying he wasn't actually driving distracted and that this is something he regularly does, he "isn't paying attention to the video" and to him it's like a phone call. However, the footage of him messing with his phone during the meeting seems to contradict his statements.

The sweet, sweet irony of it all is that the Ohio state Senate is currently working on passing a bill that would increase penalties for distracted driving.

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