UPDATED: Comcast offers $10 credit to Tucson customers who saw Super Bowl porn

2009-02-02T00:00:00Z UPDATED: Comcast offers $10 credit to Tucson customers who saw Super Bowl pornBy Brian J. Pedersen Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 02, 2009 12:00 am  • 

The pornographic content that interrupted thousands of local Comcast subscribers’ Super Bowl broadcast was the result of an “isolated malicious act,” a company spokeswoman said Monday.

But company officials have yet to determine how that act was committed, spokeswoman Kelle Maslyn said, though any sort of equipment malfunction has been ruled out.

“We did an extensive preliminary check on our technical systems, and everything appeared to be working properly when the incident occurred,” Maslyn said.

In light of the incident, Comcast says it will issue a $10 credit to any customers who say they viewed the 30-second clip, which featured full male nudity. (SEE BOX)

Meanwhile, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Phoenix said it is looking into the interruption, which lasted about 30 seconds, and featured full male nudity.

“We take this matter seriously,” spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle said. “We’re working with appropriate agencies to review the incident.”

One of those agencies, the Federal Communications Commission, was not aware of any formal complaints made regarding the porn clip, FCC media relations director David Fiske said Monday afternoon.

It is still unclear how many viewers saw the clip, from a porn movie being shown on Shorteez, an adult cable channel offered by Comcast on a pay-per-view basis.

Only Comcast subscribers who received a standard definition signal could see the clip, while those who watched the game on high-definition televisions were not affected, Maslyn said.

Comcast is Southern Arizona’s second-largest cable subscriber, with more than 80,000 customers in unincorporated Pima County, Marana and Oro Valley.

The Star newsroom was flooded with calls Sunday night from irate viewers who said that the porn cut into the game with less than three minutes left to play, just after Arizona Cardinals player Larry Fitzgerald scored on a touchdown pass from Kurt Warner to put the team in the lead.

Callers said that the clip showed a woman unzipping a man’s pants, followed by a graphic act between the two.

The Super Bowl was being shown locally on KVOA. The station sends its signals — both standard definition and high definition — to Cox Communications, which then sends the signals to Comcast, station president Gary Nielsen said.

KVOA’s signal didn’t have porn on it when the station sent it over to Comcast, Nielsen said. He said his station has received no complaints from viewers who watched the game on Cox, on satellite providers such as DirecTV or Dish Network or from people who saw it through an over-the-air signal.

“This did not emanate from us,” Nielsen said. “We are dismayed that this had to happen.”

The porn clip was actually the second interruption Comcast’s standard definition subscribers saw, Maslyn said. A few minutes earlier, a short clip showing the closing credits of a movie on another adult channel, Club Jenna, were shown.

Both Club Jenna and Shorteez are channels offered by Spice Entertainment, according to the Playboy TV Network’s Web site.

Comcast has set up an e-mail account to take feedback from concerned customers. The address is comcasttucsonfeedback@gmail.com.

Customers also can call 744-1900.

Since first reporting on the story Sunday, various online updates posted by the Star on its Web site had received more than 173,000 page views on as of 1 p.m. Monday, online editor John Bolton said.

Related story: readers' funniest comments

Read more on StarNet and in Tuesday’s Arizona Daily Star

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