This Giant Inflatable Butt Plug Had Some Unexpected Consequences for Paris

This Giant Inflatable Butt Plug Had Some Unexpected Consequences for Paris
Source: AP
Source: AP

As it turns out, art really can change lives.

Earlier this fall, artist Paul McCarthy erected a massive new piece of art right in the middle of Paris: Tree, a giant green inflatable butt plug. And now, according to the English-speaking French paper the Localsince McCarthy's Tree sprouted up, butt plug sales have been going through the roof. 

"We used to sell around 50 a month," Richard Fhal, a sex toy wholesaler who supplies shops in Paris and runs his own retail website and small chain of stores, told the Local. "Since the controversy (in October) we've moved more than a thousand."

The Local notes:

"He noted that previously customers for anal plugs were almost exclusively male and gay, but in recent weeks heterosexuals — with an equal mix of men and women — had been snapping up the products that cost between [$25] and [$50] each."

Fhal also said that prior to McCarthy's Tree and the surrounding controversy, the term "plug" wasn't very popular in France, but that's since changed. "We were selling them as anal stimulators but now everyone in France knows the term 'anal plug,'" he said.

Source: Getty Images

How we got here: When it was erected in mid-October, Tree quickly riled up right-wing conservative critics and even prompted a response from French President François Hollande. The giant sculpture was also subject to a number of vandalism attempts and general conservative scorn before finally being deflated and removed:

While the whole incident may seem kind of silly, Tree raised a number of important questions about local art displays and proved that art really can affect people and their lives. Even though "getting more people to buy more sex toys" may seem like an insignificant achievement, it's certainly something to be admired (especially considering the often maligned sex toy market) and shows that true art can still serve an important function in modern society. 

h/t Gawker

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Matt Essert

Matt is the news director at Mic, covering breaking news. He is based in New York and can be reached at matt@mic.com.

MORE FROM

CNN's Van Jones allegedly says the Trump Russia stories are "a big nothing burger"

He's the second CNN insider this week to apparently denounce the network's Russia coverage.

Conservative columnist Bret Stephens joins MSNBC

Stephens will remain a columnist at The New York Times.

Department of Homeland Security announces new airline security rules

The new measures could help end the electronics ban.

Democrats on Neil Gorsuch's first Supreme Court term: "We've got another Scalia"

Some say Gorsuch's even-handed performance during his confirmation hearings "might be more an act than it was a real persona."

Fox News just hired US Rep. Jason Chaffetz as a correspondent

Chaffetz is headed to Fox.

Here are the key rulings from the Supreme Court's busy June term

The court's term ended with rulings on immigration, the First Amendment, LGBTQ rights and more.

CNN's Van Jones allegedly says the Trump Russia stories are "a big nothing burger"

He's the second CNN insider this week to apparently denounce the network's Russia coverage.

Conservative columnist Bret Stephens joins MSNBC

Stephens will remain a columnist at The New York Times.

Department of Homeland Security announces new airline security rules

The new measures could help end the electronics ban.

Democrats on Neil Gorsuch's first Supreme Court term: "We've got another Scalia"

Some say Gorsuch's even-handed performance during his confirmation hearings "might be more an act than it was a real persona."

Fox News just hired US Rep. Jason Chaffetz as a correspondent

Chaffetz is headed to Fox.

Here are the key rulings from the Supreme Court's busy June term

The court's term ended with rulings on immigration, the First Amendment, LGBTQ rights and more.