The mayor of a male-heavy mining town in Australia created uproar among local women over the weekend by inviting "beauty-disadvantaged" women to join the population of lonely men.
Mayor John Molony found himself under attack Monday over comments he made to a local newspaper that read: "May I suggest if there are five blokes to every girl, we should find out where there are beauty-disadvantaged women and ask them to proceed to Mount Isa."
The mayor added that many women who already live in the remote Queensland state town seem quite happy.
"Quite often you will see walking down the street a lass who is not so attractive with a wide smile on her face," he continued. "Whether it is recollection of something previous or anticipation for the next evening, there is a degree of happiness."
The quotes, published Saturday in the Townsville Bulletin, sparked outrage among the town's female population, led to furious online debates and drew criticism from the local chamber of commerce.
"There's a lot of anger circulating among the community at the moment — a lot of passionate anger," Mount Isa Chamber of Commerce manager Patricia O'Callaghan said Monday. "There's a lot of women voicing their opinions."
Molony declined to elaborate on his comments Monday except to say they were "twisted and warped" by the newspaper.
"I've been shredded," he added, before hanging up the phone.
The situation may not be quite as dire as Molony noted. According to the 2006 census, males made up 52.6 percent of the town's population of nearly 20,000.
Local women, enraged by the mayor's comments, protested Monday, saying there aren't a lot of gems to be found among Mount Isa's men, either.
"We want an apology," local woman Rikki Loccisano told the Brisbane Times.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.