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Performance artist on trial in France for walking near Eiffel Tower with rooster on penis

Steven Cohen was charged with sexual exhibitionism for the “Coq/Cock” stunt.

By Evan Bleier
Performance artist on trial in France for walking near Eiffel Tower with rooster on penis
The Eiffel Tower in Paris (File/UPI Photo/Eco Clement) | License Photo

The trial of a South African performance artist who walked around the Eiffel Tower with a live rooster attached to his penis began last week.

During the stunt, Steven Cohen wore red satin gloves, a feather headdress and platform shoes. The “Coq/Cock” stunt was meant to make a point about dual identity.

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Cohen is charged with sexual exhibitionism and could face up to a year in jail and a $20,000 fine if convicted his lawyer told Vocativ.

"The charge of the state is completely inappropriate," said Cohen, 51, according to Stuff.co.nz. “That puts it on a par with someone flashing ... outside a school. It's really backward of France to insist on this charge.”

“I made a work using French national symbols -- the cock, the Eiffel Tower, the Folies Bergere -- as well as a very South African approach to using public space with political consciousness. It's not terrorism or perversion. It's art."

The rooster was not harmed in the stunt and is now living on a farm.

“Art is the last area we have to talk about difficult things," Cohen said. "I am not pleading guilty to anything because I am not guilty...I'm insisting on my right to make art in a way I want to make it."

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[Stuff.co.nz] [Vocativ via YouTube]

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