The owners of an Auckland restaurant under fire for "misogynistic" chalk messages scrawled on its toilet doors have apologised, saying they realise they made a mistake.

Miss Moonshine's owners, Annelise and Ryan Clarke, responded to extensive criticism on social media late tonight.

"Hey folks, sincerely sorry for any offence caused by the graffiti written on our bathroom doors," they said.

"Agree this was in poor taste, was really never intended to upset anyone. Please accept our public apology, we removed graffiti off the doors as soon as we received a complaint.


"Sorry that we messed this one up, we are dealing with the matter internally."

Mr Clarke told the Herald he bore more responsibility than his wife for what happened, as the messages were on the men's toilet doors.

The writing had been on the wall since June and this was the first time they had fielded a complaint, he said, but added he now recognised it was "stupid" to have had the messages up at all.

"Of course it's so stupid. There's nothing I can really say that makes it smarter."

The messages on the men's toilet doors at Miss Moonshine's, a slow-cooked barbecue restaurant off Ponsonby Rd, were labelled misogynistic and sexist with people demanding the owners remove them, which Mr Clarke told the Herald had now been done.

The messages included offensive references to oral sex that the Herald has chosen not to publish.

A tweet sent by Peter Goodman this evening condemning the messages sparked a flurry of activity on social media.

The company's Twitter and Facebook accounts were deleted within hours of the controversy erupting online.

"Won't be back to @missmoonshines," Mr Goodman's original tweet, which included pictures of the messages, read.

Several hours later his tweet had been re-tweeted more than 90 times and the criticism had spread to Facebook.

"I'm keen to know why you are perpetuating outdated attitudes to women in your men's room. It's not a joke," said one Facebook user on Miss Moonshine's Facebook page.

"You're better than this, surely @missmoonshines," asked a Metro Magazine administrator on Twitter.