Zoom Conference Call for Delaware Black-Owned Businesses Interrupted by Hackers Spewing Racist Rhetoric and Pornography
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Zoom Conference Call for Delaware Black-Owned Businesses Interrupted by Hackers Spewing Racist Rhetoric and Pornography

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Cropped shot of a businesswoman using a laptop at her desk in a modern office

It seems as if nothing is truly safe online. A Zoom conference call that was set up by the Delaware Legislative Black Caucus last week was interrupted by hackers who forced their way in with racist language, Nazi imagery, and graphic pornography, according to Delaware Online.

Last Wednesday, the Delaware Legislative Black Caucus arranged a virtual conference event that was going to focus on helping black-owned businesses and organizations receive federal money. In an unexpected move, the Zoom-hosted call was taken over by a hacker who gained control and displayed a racial slur and porn.

The Zoom virtual “meeting” was an informal panel of eight state lawmakers, a few members of Congress, and several other officials. The meeting was a virtual information session to encourage African American businesses, churches, and not for profits to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program, a $349 billion program that the federal government launched to help small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Nearly an hour into the Zoom conference call, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester is heard speaking about “the equity of this whole process” when the screen goes black and she disappears. The video screen stays black for about 2 minutes as participants continue meeting. Then, a white cursor appears on the black screen. A scribbling of the N-word in red appears across the screen, along with a drawing of a swastika.

“So I see someone has joined,” said Blunt Rochester, when she appeared back on the screen. “And you know what, we rebuke hate. We know that this—there’s a bigger plan here, and it’s all about love and caring for each other as a part of a large community. And so I am so grateful, I’m grateful for everybody that’s on this call. Because we know that that’s really what these times are showing us. It’s calling out who we really are. It’s not about who we say we want to be.”

Without skipping a beat, Blunt Rochester says, “So don’t worry folks, we’re going to be together in it, and we’re going to continue to work together. Stay strong, and thank you so much. And don’t forget the Census!”

The meeting was apparently a victim of “Zoom-bombing,” in which people crash public meetings with obscenities, racial slurs, or hate speech.