The Lauritz auction house said it closed online bidding and is now only accepting verifiable bids via phone after the hosts of the "Monte Carlo" radio program on broadcaster DR's P3 channel headed what they called a "satirical campaign" of phony bids, which drove the price of the statue -- worth about $440,420 -- up to more than $7 million, The Copenhagen Post reported Wednesday.
Lauritz called the incident "harassment and sabotage" and said DR has not responded to its complaints.
"We have tried to contact them, including the legal department, but unfortunately DR does not see it as their responsibility if their journalists bid on items that they have no intention of buying," Lauritz said in a release.
Morten Hesseldahl, the editor responsible for the content of the "Monte Carlo" program, said the campaign fit with the satirical nature of the show.
"Monte Carlo did not intend to sabotage the auction but rather to stick a pin into all of the overly-romantic nationalism that has popped up around the statue," he said.
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