Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Performance Artist Arrested in France for Doing Dance with Chicken Tied to his Penis at the Eiffel Tower

Update 5/6/2014: Steven Cohen was foudn guilty of sexual exhibitionism, though the judge did not hand down a sentence or a fine.

Cohen wows spectators with his chicken dance.

Cohen wows spectators with his chicken dance.

South African performance artist Steven Cohen seems to be living in Paris, France, these days and is feeling pulled between the two countries, according to his lawyer, so he decided to put on a performance at the Eiffel Tower to evoke his crisis. The performance instead seems to have provoked a crisis resulting in Cohen’s arrest.

On September 10, 2013, tourists at the Eiffel Tower were dazzled at about 9:30 a.m. with a dance performed by Cohen who was dressed in a bird outfit. He wore something that looked like a corset and possibly a g-string, high-heeled platform shoes, garters and stockings, long red gloves, and he had long feathers streaming from his hands and from the cap he wore on his head. In keeping with the classic image of a Parisian street performer he had on weird mime-like makeup. However, he definitively broke that image attaching a live rooster, or “coq” as the French press are calling, to his penis via a ribbon.

For about ten minutes Cohen danced up and down the square around the base of the tower with the chicken leading him around. Surprised spectators laughed, took photos, averted their children’s eyes and, of course, called the cops. Cohen was arrested for indecent exposure and was released later the same day.

His lawyer Agnes Tricoire told Le Parisien newspaper, “He danced with the cock for around ten minutes, before being arrested by the police.” She is reportedly disgusted with how long Cohen was held by police, explaining Cohen’s dance, “It’s a disgrace. With this performance, Steven Cohen wanted to evoke his situation, split between two countries. South Africa, his native land, and France, where he lives at the moment.”

We are sure that on hearing this explanation, police totally understood what Cohen was obviously saying and even felt a little silly for having caused him so much trouble. Or, this being the French police, maybe not.

For you animal lovers out there, we do not know where Cohen got the chicken or what happened to it after he was arrested.


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