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Friday, February 9, 2007
By Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
The general manager of the Cartoon Network resigned today as the fallout continues to grow from a botched guerilla marketing campaign that sparked a series of bomb scares last week in Boston.
Jim Samples told colleagues today in an e-mail provided to the Globe that he deeply regretted "the negative publicity" spawned by the blinking cartoon characters meant to publicize the animated show "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" and saw no other choice but to leave the network after 13 years.
"As general manager of Cartoon Network, I feel compelled to step down, effective immediately, in recognition of the gravity of the situation that occurred under my watch," Samples wrote in the e-mail provided by O'Neill and Associates, a Boston public relations firm. "It's my hope that my decision allows us to put this chapter behind us."
Almost 40 of the flashing lights were placed on bridges, underpasses, and other pieces of infrastructure throughout metropolitan Boston. In daylight, people mistook the black boxes for possible bombs when they saw wires and circuit boards.
Law enforcement spent much of the day scrambling across the region responding to bomb scares. Several bridges, a section of Interstate 93, and a portion of the Charles River were closed during the mayhem.
Cartoon Network's parent company -- Turner Broadcasting -- and the marketing company hired to carry out the campaign agreed earlier this week to pay $2 million in restitution to law enforcement. Mark Lazarus, the president of Turner Entertainment Group, will lead Cartoon Network in the interim. Lazarus praised Samples' time at the network.
"He has our respect, appreciation and sincere best wishes," Lazarus wrote in an e-mail to the staff also provided by O'Neill and Associates. "He has been a valued friend and mentor to people throughout the company and around the world."
Posted by the Boston Globe City & Region Desk at 03:07 PM