Women Who Eat On Tubes
Founder of Women Who Eat on Tubes has defended the page after Facebook removed it from the social media site Facebook

The founder of controversial Facebook group, 'Women Who Eat on Tubes', has defended the page after it was apparently removed from the social media site.

Tony Burke said the group, which displays photos of women eating on London's underground network and relies on a photographer's subterfuge, was set up as an "observational study" and that users had a right to take photos of subjects without seeking their permission.

Appearing on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Burke said he created the page in 2011 for himself and his friends on Facebook and never intended for it to become the "radioactive monster which it has mutated into".

He claimed the site had only gained notoriety after the press started to publish stories about the outrage it had caused women and that he had been trying to create something artistic.

Fans of the page swelled in recent weeks after the media storm and attracted more than 20,000 'likes'.

But Burke, who was appearing on the show alongside one of the group's fiercest critics, student Lucy Brisbane McKay, broke the news the page had been taken down from Facebook.

He said: "As of this morning, Facebook has taken the group down. We're talking about something posthumously."

Brisbane McKay has organinsed a protest picnic against the group to take place on Monday 14 April on the tube's Circle Line. She defended commuters' rights to privacy and said women did not necessarily want to be part of Burke's art project.

She said: "I don't think women particularly want to be seen as wildlife eating on the Tube. We don't want to be the subject of your art."