A sumptuous new French restaurant in Sydney said Wednesday it would remove two urinals designed to resemble a woman's lipsticked mouth, apologising for any offence they have caused.
The Ananas Bar and Brasserie said the bright red-lipped urinals shaped like an open mouth were "a commonly used European design piece from female Dutch artist Meike van Schijndel".
"We sincerely apologise if they have caused offence. They are being removed today," a spokeswoman said in a statement.
The stylish restaurant opened three weeks ago, with the Sydney Morning Herald's food reviewer describing the urinals as "no real surprise here at Ananas, merely adding to the extraordinary collision of statements and intent".
But feminist, former political adviser and writer Anne Summers said the design was offensive. "Misogyny is very widespread, and this is just an example of misogyny," said Summers.
"The concept is pretty challenging and confronting. They're asking men to put their d(expletive) in these mouths as urinals."
Australia is the grip of a fierce political debate about sexism after Prime Minister Julia Gillard, the nation's first woman leader, accused opposition leader Tony Abbott of being a misogynist.
The unmarried Gillard said Tuesday she had been personally offended by many of Abbott's remarks over the years -- from urging her to "make an honest woman of herself", to his cat-calling at her in parliament.
"If he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn't need a motion in the House of Representatives, he needs a mirror," she said in stinging comments.