Town Manager Kerry Lafleur addresses the Select Board Monday on last week's 'Zoom bombing' disruption of a Finance Committee meeting. Photo by Celeste Katz Marston

Town Manager details new safeguards after antisemitic ‘Zoom bombing’ attack

March 18, 2024

By Betsy Levinson — 

Town Manager Kerry Lafleur acknowledged Monday night that it took too long to shut down an antisemitic Zoom bombing attack on a Finance Committee hearing, and detailed measures the town is undertaking to prevent a repeat performance. 

“At approximately 8:52 p.m.” last Thursday, “a member of the public shared their screen showing a graphic containing antisemitic images and other vulgar images and language. At this same time, several persons in the remote audience engaged in a dialogue of antisemitic rhetoric and other vile comments,” Lafleur said in a formal statement delivered to the Select Board and released online to the public.

The bigoted screen sharing — which attendees said featured imagery of a swastika — and hateful ranting continued until 9:04 p.m., she said. 

“I recognize that our response was too slow, and the time needed to restore order was too long, resulting in harm to committee members, members of the public and staff in attendance,” she said, “and for this reason, I offer my deepest apologies to all who bore witness to this unconscionable and disgusting behavior.” 

In the aftermath, the manner of hosting public hearings will change, she said. 

“The incident was reported to Zoom and the town is conducting a review of Zoom and YouTube terms of service to ensure user compliance,” said Lafleur.  

“Our technology team is currently engaging in additional outreach to Zoom meeting hosts to confirm that all are using the latest release of Zoom software which allows for enhanced security protocols,” Lafleur wrote.  

The tech department has prepared a leaflet that provides step-by-step instructions on how to shut down a Zoom bombing. Further, the town has “moved those meetings to Zoom’s webinar format.” 

“Moving forward, we have committed to conducting a post-incident analysis following the pattern established within our bbroadband enterprise for reviewing outages, the results of which will be made available to the public,” Lafleur said.  

Copies of the recording of the FinCom hearing will not be available until Town Counsel and law enforcement authorize its release. The Concord Bridge has requested access to the video.

“Concord has a long and distinguished history of civic engagement which respects our first amendment rights, avoids ad hominem attacks, and seeks to work as a group to advance the best interests of our community,” Lafleur said. 

“We will continue to honor those values in our own practice of civic engagement while at the same time remaining vigilant against the actions of those who seek to cause harm to our friends, neighbors and colleagues.”