As part of a program meant to encourage children to read, an actor dressed in a rainbow-colored monkey costume with fake nipples, penis, and bare bottom danced around outside London libraries last weekend, sparking outrage.
The U.K.’s Evening Standard reported that photos of the spectacle were taken as part of the Redbridge Libraries Summer Reading Challenge event at Goodmayes Library in east London and disseminated on social media which is what drew the harsh scrutiny.
The “performance art” was put on by a group called Mandinga Arts, which has since gone off line but which by some accounts appears to have been very poorly vetted by the libraries and the organization that worked with them on the summer reading program.
Twitter users shared photos and videos of the costume, wondering what purpose the bizarre performance served to the children of east London or how it could possibly contribute towards encouraging children to read.
One video shows the actor in the technicolor costume running and then gyrating by a roadside holding a sign above his head in a manner that almost undeniably appears intended to shake the fake penis around to the passing cards. Another image showed him shaking the costume’s fake bare bottom at the cars.
All for the sake of encouraging children to read, mind you.
Warning: tweets contain graphic images and language
Apparently this is meant to encourage kids in Redbridge to pick up reading for summer. Please tell me the rationale behind these indecent costumes that were shown to families and done so publicly. Is this really necessary? @Jas_Athwal @RedbridgeLive pic.twitter.com/6I8DBcmDM3
— Has Ahmed (@HasAhmed_) July 10, 2021
I mean how many librarian/councillor eyes had to behold the Rainbow Dildo Butt Monkey before he was released into the wild to delight the children of Redbridge? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/SbkDerdDZb
— Janice Turner (@VictoriaPeckham) July 11, 2021
Redbridge Libraries were forced to issue an apology for the jaw-dropping performance, vowing it was not an incident they planned to repeat.
“During an event put on at the library today there was a performance by a Carnival Arts Company. Unfortunately one of the animal costumes was inappropriate which we were not aware of at the time of booking,” the library later said in a statement posted to Twitter. “We deeply apologize for the offense caused. This is being looked into …”
1/2 During an event put on at the library today there was a performance by a Carnival Arts Company. Unfortunately one of the animal costumes was inappropriate which we were not aware of at the time of booking. We deeply apologise for the offence caused. This is being looked into
— Redbridge Libraries (@RedbridgeLibs) July 10, 2021
It is certainly incredibly shocking that the group was not more carefully vetted by the library or the group they said was responsible for choosing the performing arts company, Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure (RCL), a non-profit charity organization which the Evening Standard says has “since apologized to residents.”
Mandinga Arts also tweeted out an apology that conveyed regret for offending anyone, yet did not account for the highly inappropriate nature of the costume.
“We apologize for the offense caused while raising awareness of the reading campaign by Redbridge Libraries on 10 July. We never intended to offend residents. We respect everyone’s individual opinion with no offense to any part. Actions are being taken, more information to follow,” the group tweeted.
The Blaze reports that their website and social media accounts were down on Tuesday, yet at least one netizen shared a disturbing screenshot of the group’s website.
Pigs in bondage gear, references to stroking each other, wtf pic.twitter.com/DHNsLquDvM
— Susan “The Actual Susan” McDonnell 💜🤍💚 (@sleeepysandy) July 11, 2021
We have long been warning here at Elizabeth Johnston Ministries that there is a growing trend of exposing children to sexualized content, and it is grievous to see this trend has far from abated in the years since we first began cataloguing such incidents.
Whether it is the graphic sexual education programs in our public schools or the highly sexualized content in media and popular culture, sex is everywhere and seems all too often intentionally directed towards children.
The lines as to what society considers appropriate for children seem to be blurring…where will this slippery slope end?
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