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Ciena Mascot Assaulted at NFOEC

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
8/30/2000

DENVER — Wanton violence marred the NFOEC fiber-optic conference here in Denver when Lightworks Lou, Ciena Corp.'s (Nasdaq: CIEN) optical networking mascot, was attacked by an unknown assailant.

The assault occurred Monday, out of sight of event security personnel, as Lou was getting onto an elevator in the Denver convention center.

“This guy just punched Lou in the head and ran off laughing. It sounded real loud, because he's got a hollow head,” said Dorian Morrison, an account executive for Do It Outdoors, an advertising agency handling Ciena’s marketing efforts at the show. “He popped him pretty good, but he [Lou] didn’t go down,” she added.

The attacker made a clean getaway. No motive has since emerged, but the Denver Police Department, which is providing security at the conference, said it was prepared to take the attack seriously.

“It sounds like some sort of city assault,” said Captain Vince Dimanna. “If I saw that happening I’d have to get involved, but it would be up to the mascot if he wanted to take things further and press charges.”

Lightworks Lou declined to comment on the attack, or to be drawn on some of the key optical networking issues facing Ciena and other companies exhibiting at the show, such as the increasing shortage of optical networking components.

Some visitors to NFOEC expressed sympathy – with the attacker. “You can see how these things happen. He’s got that big padded head. It looks like it would be fun to punch him,” said an executive at an optical networking vendor, who spoke anonymously.

As a marketing promotion, Lightworks Lou attracted mixed reviews from NFOEC attendees. “It looks like Ciena’s answer to Barney. I’ve threatened our sales guys with doing something similar and making them wear the suit,” said Bill Mitchell, vice president of marketing at Astral Point, an optical networking startup.

-- Stephen Saunders, US editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com

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