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CNN, RCN Deny Reports of Porn Airing on Channel in Boston

This story was updated at 2:07 p.m. PT and again at 2:35 p.m. PT to reflect new information; see correction below.

CNN and cable operator RCN are denying reports that 30 minutes of pornography aired on the channel designated for CNN in the Boston area on Thursday night.

According to online reports, subscribers of RCN cable in the Boston area were surprised to find hard-core porn airing on CNN’s channel around 11 p.m. ET Thursday, when CNN was slated to air a rerun of the Anthony Bourdain culinary travelogue series “Parts Unknown.”

CNN initially issued a statement pegging RCN as the culprit and asking for “an explanation,” but two hours later reversed its position.

“Despite media reports to the contrary, RCN assures us that there was no interruption of CNN’s programming in the Boston area last night,” CNN said.

After indicating earlier in the day that his company saw no evidence of the alleged porn but was researching the incident further, Jeff Carlson, senior VP and general manager of RCN Boston, released a follow-up statement: “Regarding the reported  incident involving CNN in Boston, RCN has no evidence this occurrence took place on the CNN feed. We have not had  any other reports of this incident other than this single customer’s tweet. Our review of network operations and our call center phone logs during the last evening show no indications that this event occurred on the CNN feed. Only a technical review of the individual’s equipment involved could possibly ascertain how this might have occurred. We’ve confirmed that this one customer’s account is in proper working order.”

There was online discussion of the situation as online reports of the supposed porn snafu spread amid heightened concerns over the “fake news” phenomenon, prompted by misinformation spread on social media in the wake of the presidential election.

Correction: An earlier version of this story reported that pornography aired on CNN in Boston via cable operator RCN based on a statement provided directly to Variety by a representative for the network, which read, “The RCN cable operator in Boston aired inappropriate content for 30 minutes on CNN last night. CNN has asked for an explanation.” The statement was misinterpreted as a factual assessment of what transpired.

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