Zoom bombers interrupt feminist lecture with pornography and slurs


Brian Lai

The Zoom bombing took all the meeting participants by surprise.

A feminist Zoom lecture was “Zoom bombed” by multiple people who began saying racist slurs, screen sharing explicit video content, yelling and causing general chaos.

This happened during what was supposed to be a gathering aimed at discussing de-colonialism and a celebration of the tail end of Women’s History Month.

Zoom bombing is a phenomenon that started as schools shifted online during COVID-19 and is generally referred to as people using technology to troll and disrupt classrooms.

Dionne Espinoza, one of the event organizers and a professor from Cal State LA’s Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) program said the experience had shaken her.

“I think that the language that was used felt very violating and violent,” she said. “What really concerned me was the racial and gender violence of the bombing because it really infringed in a space where women of color were the center of the conversation.”

At the height of the event, there were around 93 attendants in the Zoom call. The Zoom bombers appeared with no warning 40 minutes into the call.

The Zoom bombers appeared to be at least five adolescents due to their camera being turned on upon arrival. One or two of them even appeared to be children. They interrupted the event by loudly announcing their arrival and interrupting Norma Alarco, a visiting professor from Brandeis University, during her lecture.

They started calling out offensive obscenities, seemingly aimed at no one in particular. One Zoom bomber expressed that he liked “big juicy ****” in his mouth. Another troll sarcastically asked what “Allahu Ackbar” had meant.

Alarcon and the event organizers were confused at their abrupt appearance.

However, it was immediately clear to everyone in the Zoom call that they were not there for the lecture and that they were actively sabotaging the event.

“What do we do about that?”Alarcon said at the height of the chaos.

Despite attempts from the event organizers to mute and kick them from the call, the juveniles still managed to be disruptive.

All the event organizers could do was recoil in shock when one of the Zoom bombers forcibly shared his screen to everyone, displaying an explicit video of a woman defecating.

This led to the immediate termination of the Zoom call by the event organizers. All this occurred within a minute.

It is unknown whether this Zoom bombing trolling was an organized raid attacking the feminist movement or simply several bored youths looking to crash a Zoom meeting.

Espinoza speculates that it could’ve been that the event was specifically targeted.

“Yes, we’re worried about security, but I think the larger issue here was the resistance to having these conversations about decolonial theory and women of color,” she said. “It’s about people feeling threatened by these spaces and wanting to assert their capacity to shut them down, by disrupting them.”

After the Zoom call ended, the organizers decided to rehost the call.

“It was around 12:45 when the Zoom bombing occured, we came back and we went on until 1:45,” Espinoza said.

Around 25 people attended the second Zoom call, but this time Alarcon got to finish her lecture.

One of the bombers tried to gain entry a second time by putting “CRT” into their screen name, standing for critical race theory. Organizers saw it as “a big tell” that this was another attempt at disruption.

Espinoza stated that for future events, further precautions would have to be taken. She said there would be more in-depth screenings, likely to include signing up for event information with a Cal State LA email rather than the Zoom information just being published on social media. She also said that WGSS will continue to host more events despite the Zoom bombing.

“We’re going to continue to have our conversations,” Espinoza said.