In Place Vendome, one of Paris's beautiful historic squares, next to a 19th-century column commemorating Napoleon's glory in the Battle of Austerlitz, sits a 24-foot inflatable butt plug. Despite the city's reputation as haven for cosmopolitan artsy types, some Parisians aren't having it.

Paul McCarthy, the artist behind the recently installed public sculpture, will try to tell you that it's a tree. That's even what he called it: Tree. Paul McCarthy's past works include an inflatable pile of poop installed in Hong Kong (called Complex Pile) and a gnome holding a butt plug in Rotterdam (officially titled Santa Claus, but known by residents, appropriately, as Butt Plug Gnome). You should not believe Paul McCarthy for a second. That thing is a butt plug.

The Daily Mail pointed out the backlash to the butt plug in an article today—a backlash, which, to be fair, seems pretty much limited to one anti-gay hate group called Printemps Francais. "This is where your tax dollars are going!" scolds one of the group's tweets.

Tree was installed today as part of FIAC, the city's annual art fair, and will surely continue to court controversy until it is removed November. Hey, the French didn't even like he Eiffel Tower at first.

[Images via Getty]