A politician in Spain has offered to resign after accidentally broadcasting himself having a shower during a livestreamed council meeting.
As the 8am meeting stretched into its fifth hour, councillor Bernardo Bustillo, the secretary general of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party in Torrelavega, began to worry that he would not have time to shower, ferry his daughter to her engagements, and punctually arrive at his part-time job as a swimming instructor.
In order to continue listening to the discussion, he decided to bring his laptop into the bathroom and, in a nightmare-inducing error, minimise the video conference, in the mistaken belief that he would not be visible to his colleagues, journalists and members of the public watching on local television.
Councillors’ attempts to discuss plans to clean debris from a local river were soon brought to life with the sound of running water, with Mr Bustillo eventually emerging from behind a translucent pane in full view of those watching, oblivious to warning phone calls from concerned colleagues.
One person in the meeting can be heard saying: “Say something to Berni. Say something fast, please”, shortly before the mayor ends the call.
The footage has since gone viral – an outcome that Mr Bustillo said he fully understood given society is “informatively dominated by ‘clickbait’ and ... how irresistible a headline is like: ‘This councillor forgot the camera was turned on at the end of a plenary session (what happens next will surprise you)’”.
In a statement, he said he was sorry if his actions had caused anyone distress, adding: “Personally, I do not feel that I have to apologise for [the footage], since the incident occurred due my to wanting to continue listening to the last minutes of the plenary session in the period of requests and questions while I was showering so I could take my daughter on time before going to my job.
“I believe that it does not constitute a criminal act, unethical or dishonourable, beyond the error of believing that the camera was disconnected. In recent months, due to the rise of teleworking, anecdotes of this type have happened in many meetings and working groups.”
Since the emergence of coronavirus first necessitated that political, work and social meetings be conducted virtually, there have been a spate of high-profile technological mishaps, often involving nudity or accidentally outspoken personal insults and profanity.
Mr Bustillo described being at “total peace” with what occurred, saying: “It is curious that the greatest controversy so far in my political life is motivated by one of the elements that has naturally accompanied me.
“For my profession, I have spent half of my life half-naked and I have never been embarrassed by nudity, whether it be someone else’s and much less mine.”
He added: “My position is at the disposal of my party but I could not help regretting that the end of my political life, which I have always considered transitory, has to do with my nudity.”
Mr Bustillo concluded his statement by saying: “I would like to thank all the people – both inside and outside of politics, from my party and from opposition parties – who today have taken a moment to call me or send me messages to deal with humour and naturalness that corresponds to an anecdote like this.”