CNN ran a segment on an “ISIS” flag spotted at a gay pride parade on June 27, 2015. The flag, however, was not what it seemed.
CNN Reports “ISIS” Flag
At a gay pride parade in London, CNN International assignment editor Lucy Pawle called in to discuss what she believed to be an ISIS flag being waved by a mysterious man wearing black and white. Pawle noted that no one else at the event seemed bothered by the flag, including the event organizers or police.
The sighting prompted Pawle to call into CNN, which decided to run a segment on the photos Pawle snapped at the event. National security analyst Peter Bergen was also asked to join in on the segment.
The segment opened with the CNN anchor referring to the flag as an “ISIS flag among a sea of rainbow colors.” Pawle referred to the flag as “a bad mimickry” but “a clear attempt to mimic the ISIS flag” with its “distinctive lettering.”
The first clue that Pawle may have been misguided in her interpretation of the flag was when she noted, “I seem to be the only person to have spotted this.”
“Sex Toy” Flag
After CNN ran the segment, writers around the internet pointed out that flag was not mimicry of an ISIS flag, but that of crude drawings of sex toys. Buzzfeed noted that Pawle’s face was shown “next to a flag with a bunch of phallic sex toys on it.”
The video was quickly taken down by CNN, although a link to it still exists as of this writing.
When first challenged on Twitter about the story, Pawle seemed unaware of the sex toy interpretation.
@Paddy0pedobom I reported no such thing
— Lucy Pawle (@lucypawle) June 27, 2015
Pawle eventually retweeted a couple of messages about the mistake.
@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