Thrill-Seekers Who Scaled Golden Gate Bridge Sued for Senseless, Exploitative Actions - NBC Bay Area
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Thrill-Seekers Who Scaled Golden Gate Bridge Sued for Senseless, Exploitative Actions

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    Two daredevils, who scaled San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge and filmed the April stunt in a video that went viral, have been slapped with a lawsuit. Kris Sanchez reports.

    (Published Friday, Aug. 11, 2017)

    Two daredevils, who scaled San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge and filmed the April stunt in a video that went viral, have been slapped with a lawsuit.

    Peter Kurer — aka Peter Teatime — and Thomas Rector, both of Wisconsin, clambered up all 500 feet of one of the Golden Gate Bridge's towers. 

    The duo dangled off the tower's ledge with only their fingertips latched onto the thin railing, pulled off a couple somersaults and even snapped a selfie shot while standing on top of the tower's highest point.

    But their adventurous climb caught on camera wasn't designed to simply capture a picturesque view. They wanted their stomach-churning video to drive traffic to their YouTube channel.

    And that's part of the reason Teatime and Rector are now in trouble, according to the Golden Gate Bridge district, which sued them. 

    “‘Peter Teatime’ and his associate Rector senselessly put the lives of themselves and others in serious jeopardy to exploit the San Francisco Bay Area’s most iconic landmark for their own publicity, expand their own Internet and social media presence, and achieve fame and, relatedly, monetary profit,” Kimon Manolius, a lawyer for the bridge district, told the Marin Independent Journal.

    Bridge district officials are seeking to bar the thrill-seekers from disseminating their video, which has now been licensed for commercial use, and seek unspecified damages and legal costs, according to the newspaper.

    “In media interviews, Kurer has not only candidly admitted to these crimes, but brags about his stunts, as well as his expertise in circumventing sensors, security cameras, and safety mechanisms,” Manolius wrote, per the Marin Independent Journal.

    The publication also reported that the California Highway Patrol has asked the Marin County District Attorney’s Office to file misdemeanor trespassing charges against the stunt team.

    After climbing the world famous landmark, Kurer said, "It was super breathtaking. One of the most incredible things I have ever seen. It's pretty miraculous up there."

    Teatime, who describes himself as being a "really curious person," said he has been climbing buildings all over the globe for several years. To most, ascending the Golden Gate Bridge would seem like an illegal and daunting task. To Teatime, it was just another climb on his list.

    "To us, it's not nerve-racking," he said. "You kind of just clear your mind and you're in the moment."

    The death-defying adventure was not taken lightly by the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.

    "The Golden Gate Bridge isn’t a playground," spokesperson Priya David Clemens said in a statement in April. "It’s a vital Bay Area transportation artery and a symbol of our community. These climbers’ reckless actions could have caused immeasurable harm to those driving below."

    Kurer isn't worried about any repercussions. He said he respects those who patrol the bridge and purposely dangled late at night to avoid a potential accident with busy traffic below during the daytime hours. He also pointed out that he and his friend did not harm anyone or damage any property.

    "It's a pretty innocent thing," Kurer said.

    If anything, the teen welcomes a conversation with authorities, saying that he's willing to point out flaws in the bridge's security system.

    Clemens admitted that the daredevils' adventure "did not trigger any alarms, so the Golden Gate Bridge District's patrol was not aware of the activity at the time."

    Climbing on the bridge is a misdemeanor under state law, according to Clemens. The last time someone conducted a similar incident was four years ago, and the individual involved lost their job and was added to the no-fly list.

    Jail time and a fine would be possible if the pair was found guilty.

    Days after capping the pulse-pounding stunt with a brisk shuffle back to solid ground, Kurer summed up the experience in five words.

    "Craziest experience of my life," he said.

    NBC Bay Area's Mark Matthews and Jean Elle contributed to this report.

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