The Mooninites have been contained. As have the Mooninite helpers.
Two Boston artists were arraigned Thursday on felony charges relating to the bomb of an Aqua Teen Hunger Force promotion.
Peter Berdovsky, 27, and Sean Stevens, 28, pleaded not guilty to perpetuating a hoax that sent Boston into a panic on Wednesday. Both were released on bail.
Officials, meanwhile, made moves to go after the deep pockets behind Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Turner Broadcasting, parent company of the Cartoon Network, which has aired the animated series since 2000.
"I cannot state strongly enough the seriousness of this offense," district attorney Daniel Conley said in the Boston Herald.
In an apology on the Cartoon Network's Website for its late-night Adult Swim lineup, which includes Aqua Teen, an anonymous corporate voice sound very, very sorry.
"We apologize to the citizens of Boston that part of a marketing campaign was mistaken for a public danger," the statement read, adding the company understood "the gravity of the situation" and "deeply regret[ted] the hardships experienced as a result of the incident."
Berdovsky and Stevens stand accused of placing dozens of battery-operated light boxes around the city on overpasses, in tunnels and around commuter stations.
The boxes, which bear the likenesses of Aqua Teen's moon creatures, Ignignokt and Err, and in the light of a new day look a lot like Hasbro's old Lite-Brite boards, were mistaken for bombs, thus sending Boston on high alert.
The promotion entailed similar boxes being placed in nine other U.S. cities. Authorities began removing those boxes Wednesday without reported incident.
Stevens and Berdovsky apparently were working the Boston route at the behest of the New York marketing firm hired to hype Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters, which is coming to the big screen Mar. 23.
The firm, identified in reports as New York City's Interference Inc., could not be reached for comment Thursday—its voicemail box wasn't taking any more messages.
Turner Broadcasting has been more forthcoming. At least once the media giant fessed up to the Aqua Teen Hunger Force connection hours into the Boston scare.
According to an ABC News report, at least one of the two men charged was urged to keep quiet about his involvement, even as Boston was in full-on terror-attack mode.
In an email obtained by ABC News, Berdovsky told friends Wednesday that "my boss at the Cartoon Network's ad agency just called—she is asking that I pretty please keep everything on the d-l [down-low]."
But the word might already have been out. According to BoingBoing.net, Berdovsky posted pictures "of a small group" putting up the Aqua Teen light boxes on his personal Website. (No use trying to get onto the site, Zebbler.com, at least not now—it was either down or crashed through much of Thursday.)
Berdovsky and Stevens were arrested Wednesday night.
In court, the two men were slammed by prosecutors, and supported by friends. Online, messages of encouragement turned up on Berdovsky's still-accessible MySpace page.
"This is crazier than Phish tour '99!!" one poster offered.
The artists' biggest ally might be their judge, who "seemed skeptical of the state's case," in the words of the Boston Globe, and reminded prosecutors that they'd have to prove Berdovsky and Stevens intended to cause a panic.
Elsewhere, when prosecutor John Grossman described one of the Aqua Teen light boxes as looking like a C-4 explosive, the remark drew audible laughs from courtroom observers, per reports.
Outside the courtroom, Berdovsky and Stevens held a press conference.
About hair. Specifically, hair of the 1970s.
On that point, they were firm.
"We are only taking questions on hair," Berdovsky said.
Later, Berdovsky allowed that he and Smith needed some time to come up with cogent thoughts on something besides Afros.
"So, if you could just give us some privacy for a little bit," Berdovsky said. "I will be trying to make sense of [it all] real soon."
In Los Angeles, meanwhile, federal prosecutors have made sense of an Aqua Teen-esque promotion undertaken there last year on behalf of Mission: Impossible III—and they've decided somebody should pay.
Paramount Pictures and the Los Angeles Times were informed last week that they'll be sued by the U.S. government over an M:I-3-themed news-rack campaign, the Times reported Thursday.
The promotion, like the Aqua Teen one, involved the deployment of little boxes—with exposed wires, no less—that passersby mistook for bombs. Detonations and the evacuation of L.A.'s Veterans Affairs hospital ensued.
Guess the Mooninites aren't the only ones with a knack for publicity.