Finance Committee meetings are often held as hybrid in-person and virtual gatherings, like the February meeting pictured. Image via Minuteman Media Network

FinCom chair: antisemitic ‘Zoom bombing’ may spur tech changes

March 15, 2024

By Betsy Levinson — 

It was between two Town Meeting articles under review at Thursday’s Finance Committee hearing that a ‘Zoom bomber’ interrupted the proceedings by sharing a screen with a swastika amid an outburst of hateful speech and other vulgarities. 

FinCom Chair Parashar Patel said Friday the chaotic incident went on for 10 or 15 minutes, growing ever louder, as he tried to shut it down.  

Eventually, he closed the meeting temporarily while the crew from Minuteman Media Network scrambled to get the images off the screens and root out the offenders. 

“It was shocking to have that happen,” Patel said. 

He said a similar incident occurred at a recent Zoning Board of Appeals meeting. 

“I was upset. The committee was upset,” he said. “I’m frustrated it happened.” 

Patel called Concord Police Chief Thomas Mulcahy, who “was on top of it.” He said Mulcahy is in touch with State Police about the hate incident, and law enforcement has the recording. 

“It has to be fixed by Monday,” said Patel. “There are so many meetings going on now.” 

One way to restrict access to meetings, he said, is to limit participants to those who are “elevated to a speaking role,” as is done in the business world. Once elevated, a person would be allowed to speak — and then muted again. 

“The public would have no way to share their screen,” said Patel.  

“This was clearly a mistake, and we need to get this done right away.”