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Porn slips into Gateway video

Can sex sell home computers or bring down a brand? A hapless PC maker is about to find out.

Can sex sell home computers or bring down a brand? A hapless PC maker is about to find out.

Gateway 2000 (GATE) has recalled about 10,000 promotional videotapes about its company and products after 30 seconds of sexually explicit video somehow ended up on the footage.

Few customers have complained about the video, which can be obtained by potential customers who call the company for information after seeing commercials or print advertisements about its products, said Jim Wharton, Gateway's director of corporate communications. "We set up a phone line, and there has not been much of a reaction. I think most people are very sympathetic to the issue," he said.

The racy video was apparently added by a disgruntled employee of a video reproduction supplier hired by Gateway, the company said.

Gateway believes that the tampered tapes were limited to a single shipment sent out the week after Christmas. Notices have been sent to about 10,000 customers requesting that they either return the tape free of charge or destroy it. The company has sent out replacement tapes to about 20,000 customers.

Gateway is cooperating with the authorities to investigate the case. "Right now, we are busy working with our customers," Wharton added.

The company has since altered its procedure for sending out videotapes. The new tapes are now shrink-wrapped with a tamperproof label under tighter controls, Wharton said.