A Fringe scandal or a cock and bull story?

An Edinburgh Fringe act has apologised for defacing posters with crudely-drawn stickers of penises, after being threatened with legal action.

Kunt and the Gang – who is actually one person – says he could be fined £3,000 for distributing stickers to his audience, with instructions to paste them on to posters for rival shows.

In an apology, Kunt, whose act comprises X-rated songs, said: ‘It was intended to be one big jolly jape that everyone laughed along with. This I now know was a badly misjudged joke that horribly backfired.

‘Unfortunately it was brought to our attention that some comedians were extremely angry at seeing their posters adorned with an effigy of a male member. This culminated in myself being physically threatened by one irate comic who failed to see the funny side of his poster being decorated by a member of the public with a crudely drawn image of a man’s winky.’

He added that ‘I received a visit at my venue from Edinburgh Council Environmental Dept. who told us that they had spent the day pulling off over a hundred cocks

‘I gave them my assurance to that no more cock stickers would be given out. I would like to take this opportunity to say my cocks were not meant maliciously or designed to annoy anyone and I sincerely apologise if one of my cocks got up anyone’s nose.’

It had also been claimed that promoters Avalon had threatened to sue for £50,000 – although they deny this, saying: ‘This isn't and wasn't an Avalon issue, it's a Fringe issue - and, as far as we understand, it has been dealt with by them.’

The issue has divided opinion on the Fringe, between those who think it’s anarchic fun in the spirit of the festival, and those who think it is vandalism.

Promoter Corrie McGuire, of Objective, wrote on Facebook: ‘Acts pay to have their marketing in place and what they're doing is selfish and immature. Hundreds of shows pay for the sites to advertise their shows within the Edinburgh City Council guidelines, and it's not at all in the spirit of the fringe to effectively graffiti other acts' promotional campaigns. It's disrespectful and inconsiderate.’

While Richard Herring, one of the ‘victims’ of the campaign said: ‘I think it's a bold strategy and not unlike what I did with Hitler Moustache - but to the casual observer it looks like a comment on the act on the poster, rather than an ad for another show.

‘You have to really ask around to find out what the cocks are for and so whilst I find it quite amusing I think it's flawed as an advert and probably not worth the aggro it causes. But then again... cocks.’

Comedian Ian Fox has compiled a gallery of cock stickers, as well as the ‘ghost cocks’ left behind after they have been removed, here.

Published: 19 Aug 2011

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