Catherine Bracy, the administrative manager at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, the host of Monday's FCC hearing into Comcast's P2P throttling actions, said the people that Comcast hired to "save seats" for employees never gave up those seats, according to the AP.
"I think it's disingenuous to say they were holding spots for Comcast employees," she said.
Bracy said when she arrived at 7:15 a.m. as doors opened for the 11 a.m. hearing, none of the 35 to 40 people waiting to get in appeared to know what the hearing's subject matter would be.
"No employees came in to take those seats when the event started," Bracy said.
As a result of Comcast's room-packing with know-nothing nabobs, local residents actually interested in the hearing were locked out (see photo.)
Comcast admitted hiring the individuals, saying they were there to hold seats for local Comcast employees. A spokeswoman added that the company was just trying to counteract FreePress' campaign to fill seats with anti-Comcast advocates.
FreePress campaign director said this in an email forwarded to me.
The facts are these: 1. Comcast paid dozens of people (not their employees) merely to occupy seats at a hearing. In addition they emptied their offices of people. 2. We interviewed several of these paid people who said they knew nothing about the issue. One said he was there only because he was being paid: http://www.freepress.net/docs/paid_to_hold_seat.mp3 3. Several dozen seats were filled by these disinterested people -- many of whom promptly fell asleep. As a result, people who came to the event with legitimate interests in the issue were turned away. We counted more than a hundred who couldn't get in. They stood anxiously waiting outside as Comcast's day hires napped in their seats. Comcast refuses to give any numbers on prices paid or seat-sitters hired.