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Thread: "Aqua Teen" hoax causes scare in Boston

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    "Aqua Teen" hoax causes scare in Boston

    'Aqua Teen' hoax causes bomb scare in Boston
    January 31, 2007

    By KEN MAGUIRE

    Associated Press Writer

    BOSTON -- More than 10 blinking electronic devices planted at bridges and other spots in Boston threw a scare into the city Wednesday in what turned out to be a publicity campaign for a late-night cable cartoon. Most if not all of the devices depict a character giving the finger.

    Highways, bridges and a section of the Charles River were shut down and bomb squads were sent in before authorities declared the devices were harmless.

    "It's a hoax -- and it's not funny," said Gov. Deval Patrick, who said he'll speak to the state's attorney general "about what recourse we may have."

    Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner Inc. and parent of Cartoon Network, said the devices were part of a promotion for the TV show "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," a surreal series about a talking milkshake, a box of fries and a meatball.

    "The packages in question are magnetic lights that pose no danger," Turner said in a statement, issued a few hours after reports of the first devices came in.

    It said the devices have been in place for two to three weeks in 10 cities: Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Ore., Austin, Texas, San Francisco and Philadelphia.

    "We regret that they were mistakenly thought to pose any danger," the company said.

    The marketing company responsible for the campaign, Interference Inc., had no immediate comment. A woman who answered the phone at the New York-based firm's offices on Wednesday afternoon said the firm's CEO was out of town and would not be able to comment until Thursday.

    There were no reports from police Wednesday of residents in the other nine cities spotting similar devices.

    Austin police spokeswoman Toni Chovanetz said the marketing company told the department about the devices Wednesday afternoon and was working with the city to remove them. She did not know where the devices were placed and said no one had contacted police about seeing one.

    Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said he'll seek to punish those responsible, and indicated that the penalty could be two to five years in prison per count.

    After Turner made its announcement, Menino said he was "prepared to take any and all legal action" against the company and its affiliates "for any and all expenses incurred during the response to today's incidents."

    "That would include any criminal or civil action," Menino spokeswoman Meaghan Maher later clarified. Boston Police would not comment on any potential charges.

    Homeland Security Department spokesman Russ Knocke praised Boston authorities for sharing their knowledge quickly with Washington officials and the public.

    "Hoaxes are a tremendous burden on local law enforcement and counter-terrorism resources and there's absolutely no place for them in a post-9/11 world," Knocke said.

    Authorities said some of the objects looked like circuit boards or had wires hanging from them.

    The first device was found at a subway and bus station underneath Interstate 93, forcing the shutdown of the station and the highway.

    Later, police said four calls, all around 1 p.m., reported devices at the Boston University Bridge and the Longfellow Bridge, both of which span the Charles River, at a Boston street corner and at the Tufts-New England Medical Center.

    The package near the Boston University bridge was found attached to a structure beneath the span, authorities said.

    Subway service across the Longfellow Bridge between Boston and Cambridge was briefly suspended, and Storrow Drive was closed as well. A similar device was found Wednesday evening just north of Fenway Park, police spokesman Eddy Chrispin said.

    Wanda Higgins, a 47-year-old Weymouth resident and a nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital, heard about the threat as she watched television news coverage while preparing to leave work at 4 p.m.

    "I saw the bomb squad guys carrying a paper bag with their bare hands," Higgins said. "I knew it couldn't be too serious."

    Messages seeking additional comment from the Atlanta-based Cartoon Network were left with several publicists.

    "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" is a cartoon with a cultish following that airs as part of the Adult Swim late-night block of programs for adults on the Cartoon Network. A feature length film based on the show is slated for release March 23.

    The cartoon also includes two trouble-making, 1980s-graphic-like characters called "mooninites," named Ignignokt and Err -- who were pictured on the suspicious devices. They are known for making the obscene hand gesture depicted on the devices.
    http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article...7/70131046/1035


    This is NOT funny, I was watching live as they started discovering these packages. It is a homeland security threat and very irresponsible on the parties involved.
    nwa FOREVER!

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    Senior Member Nick's Avatar
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    I'm watchin the show on my DVR right now, same thing I do every night.

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    I found this interesting report containing other totally pathetic attempts to market this new cartoon of there's. IMO the Cartoon Network should be brought up on criminal charges and the people responsible for these promotions should be thrown in jail for causing what they did in Boston. More so the dam Network should be fined out of existence.

    Quote:
    Scott Ott reports: "Turner puts other 'edgy' marketing plans on hold." Scott has discovered some of the other public relations promotions that were to be rolled out to generate interest in the adult cartoon show "Aqua Teen Hunger Force":

    - Renting a 747 painted with the show’s name and flying it past skyscrapers in major cities

    – Hiring young men to show up in malls, on buses and other heavily-trafficked areas who would suddenly whip open their coats to reveal a special vest with blinking lights, and begin shouting the theme song of the show.

    – “Abducting” strangers, blindfolding them, forcing them to their knees and then broadcasting their videotaped “confessions” that they love the cartoon.

    – Hiring young men to suddenly stand up on buses and airliners and loudly declare that the new cartoon is “da bomb.”

    – Planting hundreds of improvised advertising devices (IAD) that would suddenly flash, make a loud noise and scatter thousands of promotional fliers all over the road or sidewalk.

    – Mounting a “viral” marketing campaign in which dozens of journalists would each receive an envelope containing a white powder along with a note daring the recipient to hold his breath until the debut of the new cartoon.

    –Calling the White House, Pentagon, Supreme Court and other famous places and claiming to have planted a “dirty bomb” on the front steps, which turns out to be a paper bag full of dog droppings with the show’s logo stamped on the bag.

    “These promotional gimmicks are designed to appeal to the kind of adult who would stay up late to watch cartoon characters who use foul language and obscene gestures,” the Turner source said.

    What won't they think of next?

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    Moderator Matt Molnar's Avatar
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    Sorry, but these things didn't look like bombs at all. They were placed in NINE other major cities, yet Boston was the only one that went bananas. Something is wrong there.
    Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem.
    All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them under control.
    I trust you are not in too much distress. —Captain Eric Moody, British Airways Flight 9

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    Senior Member moose135's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GothamSpotter
    Sorry, but these things didn't look like bombs at all. They were placed in NINE other major cities, yet Boston was the only one that went bananas. Something is wrong there.
    Not only that, but they were in place for at least two weeks. Some of the other "ideas" that Tommy posted sure sound like they were asking for trouble, but from what I saw on the news from Boston, it sounds like they grossly overreacted.

    Last year, as part of a promotion for a new movie, the LA Times (owned by Newsday's parent, the Tribune Company) installed small units in a number of newspaper vending machines with a pre-recorded message that would play when the box was opened. Someone saw one of them (with wires and such attached, and called 911. The bomb squad ended up responding, and they blew up one vending machine to detonate the "bomb". Never thought to talk to anyone from the Times before doing that.

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    Senior Member cancidas's Avatar
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    that company is just stupid, definatly should be sued out of existence for thier moronic ideas. i've got a very twisted sense of humor, but that's just not funny.
    it is mathematically impossible for either hummingbirds, or helicopters to fly. fortunately, neither are aware of this.

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    Senior Member Nick's Avatar
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    Mayor Mannino is a mushmouthed tool of a mayor.

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    Moderator Matt Molnar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moose135
    Last year, as part of a promotion for a new movie, the LA Times (owned by Newsday's parent, the Tribune Company) installed small units in a number of newspaper vending machines with a pre-recorded message that would play when the box was opened.
    I remember that. Sure enough, on the wire today...

    LA Times faces legal action over news-stand 'bomb' alert
    The Los Angeles Times and movie studio Paramount could face a federal lawsuit after a publicity stunt to promote "Mission: Impossible III" sparked a bomb scare, the paper reported.
    Anyway, here's a video of the guys setting up the non-bombs in Boston.
    Iv9s_fz0K2I
    Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem.
    All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them under control.
    I trust you are not in too much distress. —Captain Eric Moody, British Airways Flight 9

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    Administrator PhilDernerJr's Avatar
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    Why would anyone think it was a bomb? Can someone clue me in?

    OH MY GOD!! AL QAEDA IS ATTACKING US WITH MIDDLE FINGERING LITE BRITES!!!



    Get a ****in grip, Boston.
    Email me anytime at [email protected].

  10. #10
    Senior Member moose135's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil D.
    Why would anyone think it was a bomb? Can someone clue me in?
    Because people are stupid, and when they have been told repeatedly to be afraid of their own shadow because it may be a terrorist, any little thing can set them off.

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    Senior Member Nick's Avatar
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    So, we're smarter than the people who run Boston? I knew it!

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    Senior Member moose135's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick
    So, we're smarter than the people who run Boston? I knew it!
    I don't know, but at least someone at my company thinks so:

    Quote Originally Posted by Newsday.com
    NYC triumphs over cartoon villain, Beantown shuts down
    BY JOHN VALENTI
    Newsday Staff Writer
    February 1, 2007, 3:52 PM EST

    Maybe the citizens of Boston should be thankful it wasn't The Grinch, Wiley E. Coyote or Cruella Deville who came to town on Wednesday.

    Wonder what would have happened then?

    After all, Beantown cops shut down the city Wednesday over a Turner Broadcasting Cartoon Network -- [adult swim] -- promotion for the Aqua Teen Hunger Force Mooninites, a cartoon about a talking milkshake, a box of fries and a meatball.

    To hype the cartoon, the network hired an agency to distribute 38 blinking signs with a picture of one of the main cartoon character's giving everyone the finger. Mooninite Ignignokt -- as the mischevious toon is named -- showed up in lights on bridges, near buildings and around subways.

    It created a panic that the city was part of some sinister terrorism plot.

    Oh, my God! It's Meatwad, Master Shake and Frylock!

    Can Osama Bin Laden be all that far behind?

    <snip>

    By the way, Boston: Not one New York City resident made a 911 emergency call in response to the promotion here Wednesday -- and, unlike Beantown, Manhattan has really been the target of terrorist attacks. [See the real 9/11.] Which begs for a question: How many calls do you get when the Yankees come in and assault The Green Monster?

    Okay, so maybe it's because New Yorkers are too casual about stuff like lightboxes with dangling wires and batteries being attached to some bridges or hanging in some subway station tunnel in the Village.

    Or maybe it's because we actually have some sense -- and sensibility. You know, real terror plots versus cartoons.

    Suffice it to say, however, that Bostonians overreacted to all this stuff just a wee bit.

  13. #13
    Senior Member cancidas's Avatar
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    i think that most of us in NYC have been desensatized to a lot of things over the years. or maybe beantown just wanted it's name on the 6 o'clock news.
    it is mathematically impossible for either hummingbirds, or helicopters to fly. fortunately, neither are aware of this.

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    I think some of you are forgetting there was intent in making people think something was up, therefor Boston prob took the right action. God forbid it was bomb and they did nothing the Gov't would have its head on a platter. The fact of the matter is this was done in poor taste. Next time use a ****ing billboard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Bird76
    I think some of you are forgetting there was intent in making people think something was up, therefor Boston prob took the right action. God forbid it was bomb and they did nothing the Gov't would have its head on a platter. The fact of the matter is this was done in poor taste. Next time use a ****ing billboard.
    I agree 100%, they weren't just planting them randomly, if they were why would they put them under overpasses, IN A HOSPITAL, and other areas like that. The other promotions they were planning to do just further show their intentions.
    nwa FOREVER!

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