A controversial art exhibit in Paris that was compared to a giant sex toy has been attacked by vandals who cut support strings and deflated the structure.
The 24-foot inflatable piece was created by artist Paul McCarthy and installed in the Place Vendôme in Paris, an area popular for its 18th century architecture.
McCarthy's piece was described as resembling a giant inflatable butt plug, and caused a stir online where many people mocked the piece and even coined the hashtag #PlugGate.
Now vandals have taken it into their own hands, taking down the support ropes holding it up and ultimately deflating the butt plug art installation.
A police spokesman said, "Individuals have severed the cables that hold the sculpture in place, taking advantage of a momentary lack of a security guard. Investigations are ongoing."
Though the Paris butt plug art exhibit was largely mocked, some in the art world are taking the attack seriously. Fleur Pellerin, France's Minister of Culture, said the attack was "an attack on creative freedom."
McCarthy himself was physically attacked in Paris while setting up the art.
Artnet had details of the attack.
"A perennial bad-boy even at 69 years-old, McCarthy began installing the sculpture at 11:30 am, according to the paper. At approximately two in the afternoon while the artist was surveying the completed work, an unknown assailant accosted McCarthy, allegedly screaming that his sculpture did not belong on the Place Vendôme before hitting him in the face at least three times. He was apparently additionally upset by the fact that McCarthy is not French."
McCarthy claims that the giant inflatable art exhibit is actually a Christmas tree, but his history may say otherwise. In the past, he has created other controversial pieces, including a Christmas elf holding a tree shaped like a butt plug.
In the end, few people were buying his explanation of a Christmas tree.
Sure, Paris. That's a modern Christmas tree and not a gigantic butt plug. Sure. pic.twitter.com/SUiZsT3Cwu
— Ryan Brown (@Toadsanime) October 16, 2014
Police have not said if there are any suspects in the attack on the controversial Paris butt plug art installation.
[Image via AFP]