Naked giant with massive club gets a Borat makeover
A famously well-endowed chalk figure has been given his modesty back thanks to an ‘ill-conceived PR stunt.’
The huge 36ft-long phallus of the Cerne Abbas Giant was covered over with a massive face mask to promote the new Borat film, sparking fury among locals.
Villagers woke yesterday to discover one of the world’s most recognisable erections had been tampered with. His huge club, however, remained on show.
The National Trust, who protect the hillside in Dorset, say they did not give anybody permission to touch the 180ft tall naked giant. They’ve warned people to keep their hands off the ancient monument or risk it being lost for good.
A slogan: ‘Wear Mask, Save Live’ was daubed next to the mask, leaving little doubt over who was responsible for the cover-up.
Images of Borat wearing a face mask as a ‘mankini’ have been used as part of series of PR stunts by people promoting the new film, which is due to be released on Amazon Prime today.
The picture has been projected on numerous landmarks, including Edinburgh Castle, the Tower of London, the Angel of the North and Arthur’s Seat.
A huge inflatable Borat was floated down the Thames and hundreds of people dressed as the character have been spotted in the streets of London.
But the ‘defacement’ of the Cerne Abbas Giant is a step too far, say the National Trust.
They have hit out at the ‘ill-conceived PR stunt’, saying it threatened the ‘fragile state’ of the centuries-old chalk carving.
A National Trust spokesperson said ‘We do not encourage the defacing of the Cerne Abbas Giant as any such action may damage this fragile site, whether by someone physically attaching something to him or giving the impression of having done so, may encourage others.
‘The giant is protected as both a Scheduled Ancient Monument and as part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of its important chalk grassland which supports wild flowers, butterflies and other wildlife.’
The hillside figure was given to the National Trust nearly 100 years ago, in 1920. Part of the task of conserving the Giant means leaving him alone as much as possible.
The chalk is replaced every decade or so, a process that takes days of work by National Trust rangers and volunteers. The more the ground is disturbed, the quicker the Giant erodes away.
It’s not the first time the Giant has been altered in some way. In April this year, village residents awoke to see their chalk guardian wearing a face mask.
In March last year he was given a flower to promote International Women’s day. In 2019 the world famous giant had every inch of his outline re-chalked by hand over two weeks in preparation for celebrations to mark 100 years of National Trust ownership.
Since his previous ‘refresh’ in 2008, the weather had taken its toll, leaving the giant discoloured with weeds blurring his previously sharp outline, including his most famous – and obvious – feature.
Seventeen tonnes of white stuff from a nearby quarry was carted in to re-define the outline to ensure he remains visible for miles around.
The origins of the ancient figure remain shrouded in mystery. Some claim he is an ancient symbol, perhaps a likeness of the Greco-Roman God Hercules, though the earliest recorded mention of the Giant only dates from 1694. Others suggest he was created to mock Oliver Cromwell.
Thanks to his exposed phallus, he got the nickname ‘The Rude Man from Cerne’ and, over the years, there have been many failed attempts to remove or at least ‘cover’ the explicit part.
Generations ago, villagers in Cerne Abbas believed that childless women would regain their fertility if they slept ‘within the confines’ of the giant phallus, and young couples should make love on the giant to ensure conception.
Amazon has been approached for comment.
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