Comcast sorry for porn interruption

2/2/2009 - NFL

TUCSON, Ariz. -- A cable television provider apologized Monday to Tucson-area customers over a 30-second porn interruption during the Super Bowl.

Philadelphia-based Comcast said it was conducting a thorough investigation "and will aggressively pursue all leads until we come to resolution." In separate statements, the company said it was "mortified" and "appalled" by the interruption.

"Our initial investigation suggests this was an isolated malicious act," Jennifer Khoury, Comcast's vice president for corporate communications, said.

The company said only customers in the Tucson area receiving the standard definition feed -- not high definition -- were affected.

Comcast has some 80,000 customers in unincorporated portions of Pima County, Marana and Oro Valley, but a Comcast spokeswoman, Kelle Maslyn, declined to say how many standard definition customers there are or how many of those customers may have been watching the game.

Late Monday, Khoury said Comcast had decided to offer any Tucson customer who gets the standard definition service a $10 credit. The affected customers can receive the credit by calling a special telephone number or a Comcast call center, and are entitled to the money whether or not they watched the Super Bowl.

"The Super Bowl is a family viewing event ... We can't undo what happened, but we remain deeply sorry for the impact this situation has had on our customers," Khoury said.

She said the credit was intended to "demonstrate to our customers, and to the Tucson community, how seriously we take this situation."

Tucson media outlets reported that they received calls from irate viewers about the pornographic material, which aired just after the Arizona Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald scored on a long touchdown reception during the final minutes of the game.

In Washington, Federal Communications Commission spokesman David Fiske said he was not aware of any complaints having been filed with the FCC as of Monday afternoon.

"At this point we just have no information," he said. If the agency receives complaints, review procedures will be followed.

"Every case concerning enforcement or indecency is fact-specific," he said, and added, "we can't ever speculate."

Khoury also said it was too soon to discuss a number of unanswered issues, ranging from how and why the incident occurred to what the source was and how the company's security system was breached.

Other questions include whether the interruption could have emanated from any broadcast provided for on-demand customers and whether any employees of the company might face discipline, depending on the investigation's outcome.

Fiske could not say whether the FCC potentially could impose a fine or other disciplinary action. "It depends on what the facts are," he said.