The producers of Xi'an Up Close, a Chinese investigative news program, were forced to issue an apology to viewers after sending a reporter to cover the discovery of a "mystery mushroom" that was ultimately identified as a sex toy.
The exposé, which aired this past Sunday, featured fresh-faced journalist Ye Yunfeng gushing over a "fungi-like object" unearthed by residents of the central Chinese village of Liucunbu during construction of a new well. "The object looks very shiny, and it feels really fleshy and meaty too," she told viewers.
One villager offered up a theory based on research he did online. "It's a type of lingzhi mushroom, called the taisui," he told Ye. "When the Emperor Qin Shi Huang was on the hunt for the secret to longevity, it is said he discovered this lingzhi was the answer," she contributed after noting that the this particular type of lingzhi is rare because it's typically found buried deep underground.
The home audience, however, wasn't fooled by the "fugus with lips," and immediate took to social networks to point out that the double-headed mushroom was actually "a double-headed masturbation toy" complete with artificial vagina and anus.
Xi'an Up Close posted an apology on their Sina Weibo page, blaming the mix-up on the Ye. "As our reporter was still very young and unwise to the ways of the world, this report has brought great inconvenience to everyone," read the statement. "We'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for your criticism and correction. Please forgive our oversight!"
As Shanghaiist points out, the inconvenience likely could have been greater had the villagers not "resisted their instinctual temptation to stir-fry the 'mushroom' and put it in their mouth."