Monday, February 05, 2007

Mooninite resolve

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?


avitable said...

These signs had been hanging in nine other cities for two weeks without any problems. Someone overreacted when they saw one that had fallen down, and instead of treating it rationally, the Boston government fucked up and went crazy, and now wants to blame someone. The whole situation is laughable, and Turner shouldn't have to pay a red cent.

Joanne said...

Seattle had some of those signs. Two Seattle road crew people who work for the DOT saw one and took it down and hung it up in their office actually. Someone in the office pointed it out. The ONLY thing that disturbs me about the whole thing is that nobody who works for Turner or knew about them called Boston or someone in Boston to say uh, those are ours... CNN allegedly got blasted for that because they both are owned by Turner.

Diamond Lil said...

These were in San Francisco for a couple weeks and no one even batted an eye over them. I think it's ridiculous that the Boston authorities went totally bonkers over what is the equivalent of a Lite Brite.

lemony said...

All I'm saying is this:

My commute was HELL that day and when I found out it was a marketing stunt I was annoyed.


Dan said...

I live in Boston and I think Turner should pay every cent. In the post-9/11 era, you can't mess around attaching electrical devices underneath bridges and in the metro system. I appreciate creative marketing but this was plain thoughtless.

Chicken said...

We had them in Portland and the city said they could care less about them. If terrorists were going to plant bombs they would probably be a little more discreet about it. If I saw one of those signs without knowing what it was I wouldn't think it was a bomb intially. They look like lite-bright on acid.

Elsa said...

I about an hour from Boston (doesn't make me an authority, but just to give you a location point) and it seems to me that this was blown out of proportion - especially when you consider these signs were up in 9 or 10 other cities without incident. I also agree with you about the 2 guys that were hired to put these up - drop the charges against them and have Turner pay the $2 million and be done with the whole thing.