From CBS 4 Boston:
Hoax Device Part of Cartoon Ad Campaign
(WBZ) BOSTON The suspicious devices which forced bomb units to scramble across Boston today were actually magnetic lights that are part of a marketing campaign for a television cartoon.
The reports forced the temporary shutdowns of Interstate 93 out of the city, a key inbound roadway, a bridge between Boston and Cambridge, and a portion of the Charles River but were quickly determined not to be explosive.
“It’s a hoax — and it’s not funny,” Gov. Deval Patrick said.
All of the devices are magnetic lights which resemble a character on the show “Aqua Teen Hunger Force”, on Turner Broadcasting’s Cartoon Network.
WBZ has obtained a statement from Turner Broadcasting:
“The “packages” in question are magnetic lights that pose no danger. They are part of an outdoor marketing campaign in 10 cities in support of Adult Swim’s animated television show Aqua Teen Hunger Force. They have been in place for two to three weeks in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco and Philadelphia. Parent company Turner Broadcasting is in contact with local and federal enforcement on the exact locations of the billboards. We regret that they mistakenly thought to pose any danger.”
A total of ten devices were found in Boston, Cambridge and Somerville.
The first device was found at an MBTA subway and bus station located under Interstate 93 on Wednesday morning. The device was detonated and determined to be harmless, but as a precaution the station and the interstate shut down temporarily.
Then, around 1 p.m., four calls came into Boston Police reporting suspicious devices at the Boston University Bridge and the Longfellow Bridge, which both span the Charles River, and the corner of Stuart and Columbus Streets and at the Tufts-New England Medical Center.
Another device was found in Somerville under the McGrath Highway Bridge. The latest package was found outside Fenway Park around 5:30 p.m.
Mayor Menino said the hoax cost the state and cities about $750,000. He wants Turner Broadcasting to pay for it all.
“It is outrageous, in a post 9/11 world, that a company would use this type of marketing scheme. I am prepared to take any and all legal action against Turner Broadcasting and its affiliates for any and all expenses incurred during the response to today’s incidents. Boston will look to coordinate our efforts going forward with Cambridge, Somerville and any other affected agencies.”
“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 surreal series centers on a talking milkshake (Master Shake), fries (Frylock) and a meatball (Meatwad).
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.
Personally I think this is hilarious. The fact that the mooninites cause trouble on the show and now in an ad campaign is just sweet, succulent irony. I’d love to see some mention of this in a future episode.