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Benioff nixes Eye of Sauron idea atop Salesforce Tower

CEO says he would rather see “Batkid signal”

San Francisco Skyline through very dark fog, with the tops of Salesforce Tower and the Transamerica Pyramid visible. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A petition suggesting that Salesforce Tower building management “Turn Salesforce Tower into Eye Of Sauron on Hallowe’en night” has collected over 1,400 signatures as of Friday morning. It even yielded a response from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff himself.

The petition consists of virtually no text except for the aforementioned headline.

The LED display atop San Francisco’s tallest tower—which according to SF-based artist Jim Campell projects light inward toward the building cap so that the display visible to the city is a reflection—displays a series of recorded scenes each night, ranging from SF street montages to silhouetted dancers.

So the building could, in theory, change the reflected image to that of the giant, blazing eye featured in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films in response to public demand.

Author JRR Tolkien created the eye to represent the book’s absent but still malevolent spiritual villain Sauron, describing it briefly in 1955’s The Return of the King:

The mantling clouds swirled, and for a moment drew aside; and then he saw, rising black, blacker and darker than the vast shades amid which it stood, the cruel pinnacles and iron crown of the topmost tower of Barad-dûr.

One moment only it stared out, but as from some great window immeasurably high there stabbed northward a flame of red, the flicker of a piercing Eye; and then the shadows were furled again and the terrible vision was removed.

The eye features more prominently in Jackson’s movie adaptations, and the image of the the giant red peeper high atop the tower is one that wags have cited in comparison to Salesforce Tower’s display before.

The petition is addressed to CEO Marc Benioff; however, Benioff pointed out to Curbed SF that neither he nor his company have any say over the display.

“The building is owned by Boston Properties and they are in charge of the art,” Benioff told Curbed SF.

Salesforce received naming rights to the building as part of its long and extensive lease deal, but doesn’t actually own any stake in the tower.

Nevertheless, Benioff does have a potentially Halloween suggestion of his own: “I would prefer for it to become a signal for Batkid to return as our city needs a lot of love right now.”

Batkid is the moniker of Miles Scott, a young cancer survivor, who, in November 2013, saved San Francisco’s denizens during one of the largest Make-A-Wish projects ever produced.