A public official's comment about naming his dog after the Muslim prophet Muhammad, made in a sparsely-attended public meeting, is attracting media attention from state and national news outlets, including Fox News and Forbes.
"It's a shame that now it's become a media circus," said San Juan Capistrano Mayor Sam Allevato, who has been vocally critical of his colleague's comment. "It's an embarrassment for the city."
While remarking on plans for a , City Councilman Derek Reeve announced from the dais Sept. 6 that he had .
Although he said at the next such meeting, held Tuesday, that —who traditionally consider dogs unclean—he did not apologize for inadvertently offending some residents and a City Hall staffer.
Now, a quick Google search shows there's more than 150 reports broadcast on the Internet about Reeve's remark—and the critical responses of his council colleagues and.
To name a few, the headlines read: "San Juan Capistrano Councilman Refuses to Apologize for Naming His Dog Muhammad," "Derek Reeve, OC Politician, Says His 'Bitch' of a Dog is Named Muhammad" and "California Councilman Criticized for Muhammad Remark."
Supposedly, conservative political commentator Bill O'Reilly plans to mention the dog drama in his 5 p.m. Fox news show, according to Reeve's Facebook page.
Reeve has said in an e-mail to Patch that he fears he may receive death threats. Those fears spurred Reeve to pull his biographic details from the city's website and his personal profile off of Facebook, Mickadeit reported.
But at the Sept. 20 City Council meeting, a dozen or so residents spoke in support of Reeve, saying he has a right to free speech. A number of commenters on this site have also said they have no issue with the Muhammad remark, and prefer the council focus on more pertinent matters.
When asked whether Allevato and Kramer may have helped incite the "media circus" by making Reeve's actions a talking point at Tuesday's council meeting, Allevato said they had to discuss the issue in a public forum as to not violate any open meeting laws.
"He could have just made this go away," Allevato said of Reeve's decision not to say he's sorry.
Allevato—who called Reeve's actions "juvenile"—said that in addition to local media outlets (Patch, the Capistrano Dispatch and the Orange County Register), he's been contacted for his opinion on matter by KFI and City News Service.