Seems as though Comcast wanted to ensure a sympathetic gallery crowd for yesterday's FCC hearings about the broadband Internet giant's habit of thwarting BitTorrent packets and connections.
So what better way to do just that than getting some warm bodies off the street and then paying them to sit there and "hold spaces" for local Comcast employees who were "invited" to show up.
The photo shows several of these warm bodies, captivated with the passionate discourse in the hearing room on the Harvard campus.
Comcast spokewoman Jennifer Khoury said the company paid some people to arrive early and hold places in the queue for local Comcast employees who wanted to attend the hearing.
Some of those placeholders, however, did more than wait in line: they filled many of the seats at the meeting, according to eyewitnesses. As a result, scores of Comcast critics and other members of the public were denied entry because the room filled up well before the beginning of the hearing.
Khoury said the company didn't intend to block anyone from attending the hearing. "Comcast informed our local employees about the hearing and invited them to attend," she said. "Some employees did attend, along with many members of the general public."
That was not enough to satisfy Comcast's critics.
Craig Aaron, a spokesman for Free Press, which was one of the groups that filed the complaint against Comcast, denounced the company's tactics.
"The sad thing about this is that literally hundreds of people who were not paid to stand in line, or paid by their employer to attend, were prevented from even entering the building," Aaron said.
Our democracy at work..