REPORTING FROM BERLIN -- For 50 years, the Rolling Stones have offended the sensibilities of squeamish types around the world. Next stop on the culture-clash tour: the small northern German town of Luechow.
The city's new Rolling Stones Fan Museum hasn't even opened, but it's already attracted controversy because of fixtures in its men's room -- specifically, mouth-shaped urinals.
The urinals are based on the band's famous logo, a pair of luscious open red lips with a tongue hanging out. The logo, created in 1971 by art designer John Pasche, was modeled after lead singer Mick Jagger's famously rubbery mouth.
But critics say the urinals convey a misogynistic message.
"There's been an outcry among the people -- about a dozen women have complained to me alone," Marianne Joensson-Olm, equal-opportunities officer in Luechow, told NDR, a Hamburg-based broadcast network.
"It's discrimination against women," said Roda Armbruster, a local feminist. If the urinals sported a tongue, "it would have been acceptable," because the identification with the band and Jagger would have been unmistakable, she said. Without it, "it's a woman's mouth, not a man's mouth."
The museum's founder, Ulrich Schroeder, denies that the fixtures represent a man's mouth or a woman's mouth or anyone's mouth.
"It’s art," he told the German daily Die Welt. "It's staying."
-- Aaron Wiener
Photo: Ulrich Schroeder, founder of the Rolling Stones Fan Museum in Luechow, Germany, posing Friday in front of one of the museum's lips-shaped urinals, which have stirred controversy and criticism. Credit: Philipp Schulze / EPA