Performance Artist Convicted for Nude Eiffel Tower Rooster Show

Steven Cohen Tied Bird to Private Parts in Paris

Slap on the Wrist: Performance artist escaped with a rebuke over his naked show at the Eiffel Tower after being convicted of lewd behavior by a Paris court.
getty images
Slap on the Wrist: Performance artist escaped with a rebuke over his naked show at the Eiffel Tower after being convicted of lewd behavior by a Paris court.

By Reuters

Published May 05, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A South African performance artist who tied a live rooster to his penis during an impromptu open-air show near the Eiffel Tower was found guilty on Monday of “sexual exhibitionism”, but the Paris court did not impose a sentence, prosecutors said.

Last September Steven Cohen danced on the tourist-filled Trocadero Plaza dressed in a corset, high heels, long red gloves and an elaborate feathered headdress with a rooster attached to his penis by a ribbon.

Against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower, and under the amused and perplexed gaze of tourists, including a group of nuns, the spectacle lasted only a few moments before police arrested Cohen, dragging him across the plaza, rooster attached.

Cohen’s lawyer told Reuters she was “relieved”.

“This is a rather measured decision,” said lawyer Agnès Tricoire. “In my opinion, this case should never have gone to court.”

In a March interview with Le Figaro daily, Cohen said authorities had “no understanding of what art is, what performance is”.

“If I’m found guilty … I will see it as a failure of French justice,” said Cohen, who has lived in France for about 10 years.

Prosecutors had asked for a 1,000-euro ($1,400) fine.

Cohen is known for “interventions in the public realm”, according to his biography. Wearing an illuminated chandelier tutu, he once walked through a squatters’ camp in Johannesburg while it was being demolished.

The Paris piece was a reaction to an increasingly homophobic, xenophobic and anti-Semitic world, Cohen told the newspaper.

“In showing the most intimate part of me, I’m saying: I’m male, I’m Jewish, I’m queer, I’m white,” he said.

He said the rooster, named Franck, was not harmed during the performance. The animal was chosen “because it’s the emblem of France”.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Kosovo's centuries-old Jewish community is down to a few dozen. In a nation where the population is 90% Muslim, they are proud their past — and wonder why Israel won't recognize their state. http://jd.fo/h4wK0
  • Israelis are taking up the #IceBucketChallenge — with hummus.
  • In WWI, Jews fought for Britain. So why were they treated as outsiders?
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.