The discovery of a “mystery mushroom” dug up by workers in western China prompted a local TV journalist to investigate, but they confused it with a rubber vagina.
The honest mistake, which fooled residents of the rural village of Liucunbu, became an online hit in China.
The Chinese reporter, identified as Ye Yunfeng, spoke eagerly with the workers, who had been drilling a new well when they uncovered the item.
“When we dug down to about 80 meters deep, we fished out this long, fleshy object. It’s got a nose and an eye, but we have no idea what it is!” one worker said, according to a translation of the video.
Ye followed up: “As we can all see, this looks like a type of fungus, on both ends of which you’ll find mushroom heads.”
“On this side, you can see what looks like a pair of lips,” she added.
One man said it could be some form of the lingzhi mushroom, sought after for its medicinal value.
At one point during the broadcast, workers measured the object — unbeknownst to them, a sex toy modeled after female genitalia.
“The object looks very shiny, and it feels really fleshy and meaty, too,” Ye described.
The video went viral on China’s popular Twitter-like site, Sina Weibo, and some users said they appreciated the naivete of the reporter and the villagers.
Still, “Xi’an Up Close” producers wanted to save face, and posted an apology online.
“As our reporter was still very young and unwise to the ways of the world, this report has brought great inconvenience to everyone,” the post read. “We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for your criticism and correction,” adding “Please forgive our oversight!”