VIENNA, Austria (AP) – An Austrian businessman announced Thursday that he would get rid of urinals shaped like a woman’s mouth from a public toilet near Vienna’s national opera, after facing pressure from politicians who demanded their removal.
The urinals, which are located in the “Opera Toilet,” a lavishly decorated public restroom, feature thick, lipsticked lips, a set of teeth and a bright red tongue.
“We think that it’s tasteless, misogynistic and offensive,” Marianne Lackner, media spokeswoman for the Vienna Department of Women’s Affairs told The Associated Press.
The department, headed by Social Democrat Sonja Wehsely, said it was appealing to the owner’s good will, but was also exploring the possibility of legal action.
Monika Vana, the Green Party’s spokeswoman for women’s affairs, also denounced the toilets, telling the Austria Press Agency that they are “sexist and inappropriate.”
“The owner thinks the idea (of the urinal) is funny,” Lackner said, adding that it seemed he was not prepared for the hostile reactions.
Neuhold Gerhard, owner of the toilet’s operator Neuhold Gerhard Limited, said in an interview Thursday with Austrian public radio that he would remove the urinals.
“If there is such outrage in Austria then it’s not a problem,” he said. “We will remove them in the next 14 days.”
Gerhard added that he thought it odd that public interest has only now been focused on the urinals, as they have been around for three years.
The urinals first made a splash during recent campaigns for national elections, as they were the only facility available near Austria’s National Opera.
“The thing that surprises us the most,” Lackner said, “is that no man has ever said anything about this.”