Cartoon Network chief resigns following ad stunt

The head of the Cartoon Network has resigned following a recent marketing stunt that caused a widespread bomb scare across Boston last week.

The head of the Cartoon Network has resigned following a recent marketing stunt that caused a bomb scare across Boston last week.

Jim Samples, the Cartoon Network's executive vice president and general manager, saidFriday he felt "compelled to step down, effective immediately, in recognition of the gravity of the situation that occurred under my watch."

The announcement of his resignation was made in an internal memo sent to Cartoon Network staff. In the statement, Samples expressed regret overwhat had happened.

Public areas in Boston were evacuated and bomb squads responded last Wednesday after members of the public made 911 calls reporting dozens of suspicious blinking electronic signs in subway stations, on bridges and in other locations.

Highways, bridges and a section of the Charles River were shut down and bomb squads dispatched to study the devices before authorities declared they were harmless.

The signs —which featured a boxy cartoon character giving an obscene hand gesture —were part of a publicity campaign for cult-hit Aqua Teen Hunger Force. They were distributed in nine other big U.S. cities in recent weeks, without causing the same consternation.

Hours into the investigation, Cartoon Network's corporate parent acknowledged the signs were part of a marketing move.

"It's my hope that my decision allows us to put this chapter behind us and get back to our mission of delivering unrivalled original animated entertainment for consumers of all ages," Samples said in his statement on Friday.

This week, Turner Broadcasting Systems and ad firm Interference Inc. agreed to pay $2 million US to make amends for the deployment of the variety of emergency response teams.

With files from the Associated Press.