Expensive Mooninites: US Firms Pay $2M for Stunt Scare
The Mooninite flap continues.
Glossed over in the mainstream accounts of this event is that the Lite-Brite Mooninites were placed in several cities (Boston, New York, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, to my knowledge), of which only Boston worked itself into a lather over "bombs". One can only imagine that those in other cities figured that a concealed bomb would likely not be designed to attract the attention of passersby by glowing.
Also, these devices never pretended to be anything other than glowing cartoon characters, and can therefore not be deemed "hoax devices".
I continue to post (and editorialize) on this event because it highlights a sense of "terrornoia" that is endemic at the moment. Turner Broadcasting (the company that commissioned the installations) has no reason to apologize; indeed, Boston's city officials should be explaining why they wasted so much public money on this whilst changing the public dialogue by prosecuting the guys who planted the harmless devices.
Meanwhile, somewhere in the world, a real terrorist is laughing, secure in the knowledge that his work is being done for him.
A US broadcasting firm and a marketing company have agreed to pay $2m after a "guerrilla" advertising stunt that sparked bomb scares across Boston.
The city went on high alert last week, closing bridges and roads, after 38 flashing devices were discovered.
One of the battery-powered signs - meant to advertise a TV cartoon - was destroyed in a controlled explosion.
It is not clear whether charges against two men for allegedly placing the devices will be dropped after the deal.
Sean Stevens, 28, and Peter Berdovsky, 27, pleaded not guilty to placing hoax devices and disorderly conduct.
US TV giant Turner Broadcasting Systems and an advertising firm, Interference Inc, agreed to pay $2m (£1m), half of which is meant to cover the security operation and the other $1m as a goodwill gesture.
Sean Stevens (left) and Peter Berdovsky after appearing in court in connection with a marketing campaign that caused a terror alert in Boston
Mr Stevens and Mr Berdovsky deny the charges against them
"We understand now that in today's post-September 11 environment, it was reasonable and appropriate for citizens and law enforcement officials to take any perceived threat posed by our light boards very seriously and to respond as they did," Turner said in a statement.
It said it was reviewing its marketing policies.
"I am happy this entire ordeal has been put to bed with this latest agreement. Turner broadcasting has been extremely co-operative," Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said in a statement.
The signs featured a character from the adult-themed late-night show Aqua Teen Hunger Force raising its middle finger.