News giant CNN is facing an online backlash after it aired an “exclusive report” which mistook a flag displaying sex toys for the banner of Islamic State at London’s Gay Pride parade.
The American network reported on Saturday that a man was seen waving an ISIS flag at the parade, with one of its correspondents warning that “a man dressed in black” was flying the flag.
Mistaking the sex toys for the ‘Black standard’, reporter Lucy Pawle claimed the Pride parade banner was "a clear attempt to mimic ISIS".
“This man dressed in black and white waving what appears to be a very bad mimicry of the Isis flag, but a clear attempt to mimic the Isis flag, the black and white flag with the distinctive lettering,” she said, adding that she had alerted the police to its presence.
"If you look at the flag closely, it’s clearly not Arabic, , in fact it looks like it could be goobledegook, but it's very distinctive - the ISIS flag.”
@lucypawle the ISIS flag at the Pride parade looked like gibberish because the "text" was actually outlines of sex toys. Obviously satire.— Jim (@jimdotsg) June 27, 2015
CNN certainly thought so, running photographs of the flag above a banner headline, saying: “Isis flag spotted at gay pride event.”
The segment was billed as an exclusive and the network even lined up security analysts to discuss its appearance.
But to the broadcaster's embarrassment, the satirical flag was adorned not with Arabic lettering but with sex toys.
Ms Pawle went on to say she appeared to be “the only person” to notice the extremist flag.
Immediately following the gaffe, viewers were quick to point out the mistake, inundating the reporters' Twitter page with tweets correctly her mistake.
The network has since deleted the clip, and Ms Pawle posted on her Twitter page that she "reported no such thing."