BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) -- Turner Broadcasting System Inc. and Interference Inc. have agreed to pay $2 million to resolve any claims resulting from a Cartoon Network marketing campaign that caused a widespread bomb scare, the attorney general said Monday.
The agreement with several state and local agencies resolves any potential civil or criminal claims, Attorney General Martha Coakley said.
More than three dozen blinking electronic signs with a boxy cartoon character giving an obscene hand gesture were found Wednesday in Boston, Cambridge and Somerville. The signs, part of a publicity campaign for Cartoon Network's "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," also appeared in nine other big U.S. cities in recent weeks, with little interest.
But in Boston, bomb squads responded to reports of the devices in a subway station, on bridges and elsewhere.
As part of the settlement, $1 million will be used to reimburse the agencies and $1 million will be used to pay for homeland security and other programs. Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner Inc., and Interference Inc. also will issue a public statement accepting full responsibility and apologizing for the incident.
"Last week's events caused a major disruption in the greater Boston area on many levels -- crippling public transportation, causing serious traffic problems, negatively affecting local businesses and perhaps most significantly, costing Boston and surrounding communities thousands of dollars," Coakley said.
Authorities say two men were paid to hang the signs around the city. Peter Berdovsky, 27, and Sean Stevens, 28, have pleaded not guilty to placing a hoax device and disorderly conduct.
Coakley said prosecutors were in discussions with the men's attorneys to resolve the charges before a trial.
Turner Broadcasting is the parent company of CNN. (Source: CNN)
Anybody reading my blog live in Boston? What's your take on this? Was this blown out of proportion?
From my perspective, I really wish the charges would be dropped against Berdovsky and Stevens, and that TBS would be charged instead. I am pretty sure these guys were just picking up some extra cash doing something they didn't see as a threat to national security. I realize that when they spoke during their press conference they made light of the situation by saying they would only answer questions related to hair, but I think they thought the situation was silly so were responding with what they viewed as equal silliness. Am I wrong?