Technology

Holy hacker, Batman! T-Mobile’s John Legere apologizes after Batphone session

Meet T-Mobile’s popular and profane CEO John Legere

Four years ago, when Sprint tried to buy T-Mobile, analysts expected T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere would run the merged companies. Now that T-Mobile’s buying Sprint, Legere’s back on Sprinters' horizon.
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Four years ago, when Sprint tried to buy T-Mobile, analysts expected T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere would run the merged companies. Now that T-Mobile’s buying Sprint, Legere’s back on Sprinters' horizon.

Somebody hacked into the Batphone at T-Mobile headquarters Wednesday.

The incident came about when CEO John Legere engaged the public in a call-in Q&A session that he labels the Batphone. Legere is a huge fan of the DC Comics character Batman.

After ending the 33-minute session, Legere got back on his Batphone with an apologetic tone and concerned face.

“Somebody got into the voice mail of the Batphone and put a — inappropriate is the loosest term I can use — message in there. And as people were calling in they were getting it,” he told those who were still tuned in.

“That was not me. It was not us. It was inappropriate. Angers me greatly,” Legere said in the brief second session.

A spokesman for T-Mobile said the company would not comment beyond Legere’s Twitter posts about the incident.

As for the nature of the “inappropriate” message, Legere offered no clue.

He is gratuitously profane during public T-Mobile events. And in one incident, for which Legere apologized, he said rival wireless companies Verizon and AT&T were raping consumers and used a derivative of the F-word to describe the companies.

Sprint has agreed to merge with T-Mobile to form a wireless competitor with roughly as many subscribers as the two industry giants. Legere would lead the merged company if federal regulators approve the deal.

Callers who heard the Batphone voice message Wednesday described it variously as “very bad” and “racist.”

One caller tweeted that the message included the N-word.

A caller recorded the message, which was hard to understand and included a loud horn noise.

There’s no indication of how the message got on the line set up for that session, and Legere said in his second session that he didn’t understand it.

About halfway through the first session, “voice mails started to show up on the phone,” Legere said in the second brief session. “There was no voice mail here, so it’s a little strange.”

Only after he ended the first Batphone session did Legere learn through emails and calls what had happened. He then returned with the apologetic epilogue.

“If you were confused, so was I,” he said. “Sorry about that.”

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