French Butt Plug Sales Soar After McCarthy’s Tree Controversy

Paul McCarthy, Tree (2014)
Via: @HauserWirth on Twitter

When Paul McCarthy’s Tree (2014) was unveiled in October before the opening of Paris’s FIAC art fair, it didn’t take long for some outraged Parisians to point out that the sculpture resembled a giant sex toy.

One local was so opposed to the project that he hit McCarthy in the head multiple times while the 69-year-old artist was installing the piece (see “McCarthy Beaten Up over Butt Plug Sculpture“).

The fiasco took a new turn when French president François Hollande publicly announced his support for the sculpture.

Despite the fact that vandals put an end to the installation (see “Vandalized Paul McCarthy Butt Plug Pulled from Paris Square“), and McCarthy’s Tree has since been removed from Paris’s Place Vendôme, the controversy produced some unexpected results.

The Local reported that French sex-toy merchants are seeing an unprecedented rise in sales of butt plugs: “We used to sell around 50 a month,” Richard Fhal, a sex-toy wholesaler told the Local, “since the controversy [in October] we’ve moved more than a thousand.” Fhal added that his competitors have also experienced a rise in sales.

Fhal said he noticed a change in his customers’ demographics too. While his customers used to be male and gay, he said, increasing numbers of straight couples have reportedly started purchasing the products. “The term ‘plug’ didn’t mean much in France, according to Fhal. “We were selling them as anal stimulators but now everyone in France knows the term ‘anal plug,'” he said.

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