NBC is currently living every legal clearance department's nightmare, as a perfectly innocuous scene from the pilot episode of new drama Heroes, in which the series' indestructible cheerleader character demonstrates her rapid-healing abilities by jamming her hand into an InSinkErator™ brand garbage disposal, has resulted in a lawsuit by the manufacturer seeking to prevent the network from re-airing that show:
The filing comes complete with color printouts that show a re-creation of a woman putting her hand in the disposal and pulling it out mangled and bloody. The suit says the scene suggests that the Emerson In-Sink-Erator "will cause debilitating and severe injuries, including the loss of fingers, in the event consumers were to accidentally insert their hand into one."
The suit also says the scene "casts the disposer in an unsavory light, irreparably tarnishing the product."
"It's a trademark thing," said Dan Callahan, a spokesman for Emerson, adding that the issue is not the damage that a disposal might do.
Today's NY Post reported that NBC has already altered the disputed scene (just because they felt like it, not because they're admitting any wrongdoing), but it's unclear how they changed the footage. We imagine it would be small matter to tailor any additional edits to appease the complaintant; today's digital editing technology should make it easy for the network to delete the frames in which the cheerleaders' fingers magically restore themselves to their uninjured state and insert a promotional voiceover stating, "When an InSinkErator™ disposal's stainless-steel, triple-blade mechanism mangles your fingers, they stay mangled."