Media giant Comcast was caught red-handed packing an FCC hearing on network neutrality in Boston with random people picked up off the street (see pic above) in order to keep critics of the corporation from attending.
An attendee affiliated with the non-profit group “Save the Internet” photographed a Comcast-affiliated organizer handing the individuals papers outside the meeting and interviewed one of them:
One told us that he was “just getting paid to hold someone’s seat.” He added that he had no idea what the meeting was about. If he was holding someone else’s seat, he never gave it up.
The seat-packing stunt was also noticed by Portfolio‘s Sam Gustin, who received confirmation from Comcast’s Jennifer Khoury that “the company paid some people to arrive early and hold places in the queue for local Comcast employees who wanted to attend the hearing.” However, according to Gustin, the vast majority of the Comcast employees who were supposed to attend never showed up — and a large number of network neutrality activists were locked out as a result, as no seats were available.
The event’s organizer, Harvard University, is livid.
As for the meeting, it was held to address complaints that Comcast was preventing users from watching online video-on-demand via broadband — (currently) an illegal act. Unfortunately, we have no idea how much Comcast paid attendees.
(Image via Free Press)