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Urinal leaves some speechless

JOE DAWSON
Last updated 09:30 11/12/2013
'Mick Jagger' urinal in Auckland bar
OFFENDING SIGHT: The urinal has been in the Auckland bar for eight years.

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An Auckland bar is taking steps to have a urinal designed to look like Mick Jagger's lips removed following complaints from people who say it looks like a woman's mouth.

Owner of The Abbey Bar and Kitchen in Greenlane, Micha Wijeyaratne, says the designer urinal has been in the men's loo for eight years without complaint but in the last two days they have been the target of a campaign by anti-exploitation organisation Stop Demand.

On Monday members of Stop Demand went to the The Abbey and left flyers inside menus and around the restaurant with a photo of the urinal and the message ''why is The Abbey encouraging men/boys to urinate into a woman's open mouth?''

The note also urges those who find it offensive to complain to staff or consider using a different restaurant in future.

A social media campaign has also started.

But Wijeyaratne says the way the group went about it is ''unethical'' and if they had spoken to her first they could have a had a proper conversation.

Instead she says in the last 24 hours she and her mostly female staff have felt under attack.

''No one came to see me... If you have concerns about something in the community do you go behind people's backs or do you face someone?

''They never gave me the opportunity to discuss this.''

In a statement she planned to send to Stop Demand she says she has been the subject of a public and damaging campaign.

She says the novelty urinal was intended as a light-hearted play on the famous Rolling Stones logo.

''If I had thought this might in any way be seen as offensive or denigrating then I would not have installed them.

''This sort of action, whilst perhaps promoting the Stop Demand Foundation does come at a cost. How could the board have not thought to discuss its concerns with me?

''It would have found a sympathetic ear.''

The Stop Demand Foundation says it did try to engage the bar in constructive dialogue but was stonewalled.

Founder Denise Ritchie says the organisation was acting on a complaint from the public and attempted to get in touch with Wijeyaratne, but was told the matter was in the hands of their lawyers.

She says in a letter to The Abbey that the same type of urinals have been the subject of complaints in a number of countries as being offensive and denigrating to women.

"Stop Demand is a campaigning organisation. Given we faced non-engagement at your end, just a threat of legal action, we took what we viewed to be the most appropriate course of communication available to us - via your website and Facebook pages.

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"In the circumstances, we consider the steps we took were not at all unreasonable."

She says a number of men have complained about the urinal. "It's not just a woman thing."

Ritchie says Stop Demand is pleased the urinal is being removed.

- Fairfax Media

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