Dildo Flag Creator Rips CNN Over ISIS Gay Pride Gaffe

“The only ‘bad mimicry’ I could see was CNN’s impression of a reputable news organization,” says Paul Coombs

Last Updated: February 28, 2016 @ 11:54 PM

A CNN report on Sunday went viral when an international reporter mistook a dildo-covered flag for an ISIS banner during coverage of London’s Gay Pride Parade. Now the flag’s creator has unloaded on the cable news network over the gaffe.

“But how could a report so hysterical and so clearly false possibly get onto the air, discussed by a terrorism expert?” British artist Paul Coombs, who used sex-toy motifs in his work before, asked in an op-ed published Tuesday on The Guardian. “CNN correspondent Lucy Pawle described my flag as a ‘very bad mimicry’ but the only bad mimicry I could see was CNN’s impression of a reputable news organization.

“What does this say about every other report that they broadcast? And why have they not mentioned it since? They seem to think that if nobody says anything about it then it can’t have really happened,” he continued.

When he created the flag for London’s celebration, Coombs never expected that someone would think it was real. “This man in black and white was waving what appears to be a very bad mimicry-but a clear attempt to mimic-the ISIS flag,” Pawle reported live from the scene.

Coombs also revealed in the column how he ended up fooling the news network. “I spent the morning of London’s Pride parade hand-stitching dildos onto a flag,” he said. “The decision to make the flag was a simple one: a sense of outrage at ISIS’ brutal advance across North Africa, Libya, Syria and Iraq.

“It has become a potent symbol of brutality, fear and sexual oppression. If I wanted to try and stimulate a dialogue about the ridiculousness of this ideology, the flag was key,” Coombs explained. “The Pride festival is a pure celebration of the finest aspects of humanity: of tolerance, togetherness, acceptance and liberation, the polar opposite of what ISIS stands for. If there was anywhere where my flag had a voice, it was there.”

During the parade, Coombs was alerted by police that someone in the crowd thought the flag was real and advised him to put it away, which he did, but soon the news spread that CNN reported on the flag as though it was an actual ISIS banner and #DildoIsis started trending online.

CNN quickly pulled the video of their erroneous news report from their official site but his creation has left a lasting impression with many people. “On a message board someone posted: “Whenever I see the ISIS flag anywhere, all I can see is dildos!” Mission accomplished,” Coombs said.

CNN spokesperson has not yet return multiple requests for comment from TheWrap.

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