BART Spokesman Still on Personal Leave, No Timetable to Return

Linton Johnson spoke in favor of the transit agency's decision to shut down cell phone service

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    NBC Bay Area
    Linton Johnson is still the chief spokesman for BART, though he has been on personal leave for close to a month.

    Did Anonymous win after all?

    The online "hacktivist" collective's weekly BART protests appear to have hit a low ebb, but one of the shadowy group's main foes -- BART spokesman Linton Johnson, in the cross-hairs since the Aug. 11 shutdown of cell phone signals on BART platforms -- appears to be at least partially a casualty of the group's efforts.

    The group demanded the transit agency fire Johnson for his comments in support of BART's decision to shut down cell phone signals in transit agency tunnels to thwart a protest. The transit agency has not done so, but Johnson has been on personal leave for nearly a month and there is no timetable for his return, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

    Anonymous hit below the belt when they posted on the Internet some lewd photos of Johnson, but Johnson also drew more attention to himself when he attempted to bus BART supporters to a counter-protest. He has been on personal leave since.

    BART Director Lynette Sweet said Johnson initially left the agency to visit his ailing grandmother, according to the newspaper. She said she talked to him on Sept. 19, and expected him to return that day. But Johnson never returned to BART, possibly to avoid fanning flames of the protests, according to the newspaper.

    Public relations professionals interviewed by the newspaper say that Johnson could return to work and be effective.