PR stunt costs Turner $2 mil
EmptyNEW YORK -- Turner Broadcasting System will pay as much as $2 million to Boston-area authorities to settle claims following last week's bomb scare in the Hub.
The money includes $1 million to Boston and neighboring cities Somerville and Cambridge, plus the MBTA, Massport, state police and even the U.S. Coast Guard to pay for the costs of responding to the incidents. Turner will pay another $1 million to Boston, Somerville, Cambridge and the state for homeland-security awareness. This will settle all civil and criminal liability for Turner and its guerrilla marketing agency, Interference Inc.
A criminal case still exists against two Boston-area men -- Peter Berdovsky, 27, and Sean Stevens, 28 -- who are charged with a felony count of placing a hoax device and a misdemeanor disorderly conduct count. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said last week that a resolution to the criminal charges could occur soon.
Monday's settlement closes the book on a marketing campaign for Cartoon Network's Adult Swim series "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" that was mistaken Wednesday for a plot to bomb bridges, roads and other infrastructure in Boston, Somerville and Cambridge. The same marketing campaign appeared without incident in nine other cities from Los Angeles to New York to Austin.
In a statement Monday, Turner and Interference Inc. took full responsibility and apologized for the marketing tactic and the trouble it caused. That also was mandated by the settlement. Turner said it was reviewing its local-marketing policies "to ensure they are not disruptive or perceived as threatening and are committed to making any necessary changes to our internal processes to prevent similar incidents in the future."