TV set protester kills self at Philips HQ

Man calls widescreens 'creative nonsense,' takes hostages

AMSTERDAM — A man protesting Philips’ sale of widescreen TVs reportedly shot and killed himself Monday after holding as many as 20 hostages at gunpoint for seven hours in Philips’ temporary headquarters, Amsterdam’s Rembrandt Tower.

The man had sent a fax to state broadcaster NOS reproducing complaints he had sent last year to the Dutch media and to the consumers union, protesting “the arrogant manipulation by vendors of widescreen television,” and the publicity around the sale of the TVs as “creative nonsense.”

In a copy of the fax obtained by Daily Variety, the man also denounced multinationals and marketplace economics, citing books “The Silent Takeover” by Noorena Hertz and “No Logo,” by Noami Klein, both of which take to task transnational corporations and global branding.

Widespread layoffs

Philips, whose corporate slogan is “Let’s Make Things Better,” fired 18,000 employees worldwide over the past year.

Some hostages escaped earlier in the siege, but the 59-year-old unidentified man still held seven at gunpoint before he quietly walked into a men’s restroom and, according to police, fired two bullets into his head. He later died in an Amsterdam hospital.

The Dutch bomb squad also took a suitcase filled with explosives from the siege site. Police say the man had a history of psychological problems. He had made dozens of complaints to Philips, the Consumer Union and newspapers, charging that widescreen was inferior to the traditional screen and that consumers were being sold a bill of goods.

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