Fernando Sosa, a product designer in Orlando, Fla., decided that the best way to get back at homophobes Russian president Vladimir Putin and "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson was to design butt plugs in their honor.
Sosa, 31, said it's just a coincidence that he released the Putin butt plugs during the Ukraine crisis. "I first made it when the anti-gay laws were happening in Russia and Vladimir Putin was defending them," he told us. "It takes me a little while to make them. Then the whole Ukraine thing happened, but that I was after I made it. I really made it because of the anti-gay laws in Russia."
Sosa said he wanted to counter Putin's image as a man's man. "All of these people keep talking about him bear-wrestling," said Sosa. "He spends a lot of time and money to make it look like he goes around hunting tigers so I thought of a way to attack his reputation and thought of butt plugs." Sosa, who is straight, is a strong supporter of gay rights, which is why he now offers a butt plug in Phil Robertson's likeness. "I have a lot of gay friends, and just because I'm not gay doesn't mean I don't care about gay rights," he explained.
The Putin butt plugs went viral after he posted a rendering on Reddit. Sosa first designs the butt plugs and then takes them to a 3D color printing shop to produce them. Sosa bemoaned the fact that he forgot to put in a link for ordering the sex toy when he first put up the post. "I messed up big time - all of these people were sharing it, but you couldn't find where to buy it," he said. Still, Sosa has received about 40 orders for the Putin butt plugs.
The butt plugs have been tweaked since Sosa originally rendered them. He said Redditors helped him fix some design flaws. "Someone said the base was too thin so we made a couple of modifications, and some people were saying the nose shouldn't be that pointy," he said. But the main reason why the original butt plug is not usable is because it's made out of sandstone. "It would definitely hurt," explained Sosa. Sosa posts disclaimers next to his products so his customers know not to actually use them. "They're just decorative items," he said.
But Sosa believes that if he makes a usable one, the product will be more popular. He is working on making a silicone version that will be more comfortable. The body-safe version is available for pre-order: Sosa said two people have placed pre-orders.
Sosa said the most challenging part of getting Putin right was accurately portraying his profile. "It's hard to get a picture of him from the side," he said. "I could have made a really crappy-looking one, but this is really detailed." Sosa said making political sculptures is a hobby of his. He also sells a Bridgegate "inaction figurine" of N.J. governor Chris Christie.
Follow Andrea Park on Twitter: @andreapark