Langley Liberal incumbant Mary Polak speaks at all-candidates meeting on Zoom. (Screenshot)

Langley all-candidates Zoom debate hijacked with lewd comments, sexual acts

Several people briefly took over Zoom meeting with Langley candidates on Wednesday night

A virtual all-candidates meeting in Langley – intended to be about climate change – was disrupted Wednesday night when several attendees took over the screen and began to perform sexual acts .

Eight candidates from Langley and Langley East ridings took part in the discussion held over Zoom and organized by Trinity Western Environment Club and Climate Crisis Langley Action Partners (CCLAP).

More than 85 views were logged on throughout the event between 7 and 8:30 p.m. where questions on fossil fuels, salmon spawning and logging were asked to each of the candidates one by one.

Roughly 15 minutes into the meeting, multiple people appeared on screen and began performing sexual acts, playing loud cartoon videos and shouting lewd comments before moderator Natalie Cook managed to ban them from the call.

The host had not muted the proper settings, which allowed anyone to take over the main screen when their voices were sensed by the video-conferencing service.

Langley East NDP candidate Megan Dykeman was midway through answering a question when the disruption occurred.

It is not clear if there was any political motivation behind the disruption, or where the people were joining in from, as the event was open to the public.

Larri Woodrow, a member of CCLAP, called the disruption an obscene attack. RCMP were notified.

“This was a serious, cowardly attempt to destroy our all candidates meeting with Climate Change focus,” Woodrow told the Aldergrove Star. “Cowards would never consider similar action at a hall meeting.”

“I hope the RCMP will conduct a thorough investigation to find the culprit to defend our democratic free election process,” Woodrow added.

Langley RCMP Cpl. Holly Largy said an investigation would take some time and the detachment would need help from other RCMP departments in order to try and trace a location.

The number of users relying on Zoom has increased exponentially amid physical distancing and the ongoing pandemic. The company allows conference hosts to alter settings to avoid such disruptions – which have been dubbed ‘Zoombombings.’

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