Thousands of people and some 250 groups descended on London on Saturday for its annual Pride parade, a vibrant and massive display of gay pride.
This year’s parade was particularly poignant and celebratory because of what had happened just a day earlier – the Supreme Court in the United States had decided, after decades of arguments and many battles from either side of the fence, that the country’s constitution did not forbid same-sex marriage.
The decision ignited cheers of joy around the world.
In London, the US flag, along with that of Ireland – whose people recently voted overwhelmingly in a referendum supporting gay marriage – and Mozambique – which decriminalised homosexuality this year – were displayed at the front of the parade march.
But among the festivities, American news channel, CNN, reported that an ISIS flag was being waved at the parade.
ISIS is the terror group which has employed brutal methods of murder and torture towards those in its control in Syria and Iraq.
The CNN broadcasted a “Breaking News” segment to report the incident.
“An unnerving sight today at a London gay pride celebration… an ISIS flag among a sea of rainbow colours”, its substitute anchor Susan Malvo, said on air.
“This man dressed in black and white was waving what appears to be a bad mimicry, but a clear attempt to mimic, the ISIS flag, the black and white flag with the distinctive lettering,” CNN producer Lucy Pawle said from London. “If you look at the flag closely, it’s clearly not Arabic. In fact, it looks like it could be gobbledygook.”
Ms Pawle continued: “I seem to be the only person who has spotted this, and nobody seems to be raising any questions or pointing this out.”
She said she had approached an event organiser but was told that “he didn’t know anything about it”.
Ms Pawle said, given the massacre in Tunisia on Friday by terrorists, the supposed ISIS flag at the parade “was an extremely strange and unnerving thing to see.”
But as it turned out, the flag was not an ISIS flag.
It was, instead, a flag which was a parody of sorts – the Arabic words of what would be on the mistaken ISIS flag were in fact the outlines of sex toys.
“It is a crude parody with lettering composed of the silhouettes of sex toys,” Mic.com reported. “Specifically, dildos and butt plugs.”
CNN later apparently realised the mistake and removed the clip from its website, but by then it had already made its way online on Youtube, and has since gone viral and reported by other news outlets, such as The Huffington Post.