A Pennsylvania restaurant owner has apologized for displaying a controversial sign that read, “Flying Remote Control Airplanes into Muslim People at the Mall Is My Thing.”
Michael Pollice frequently uses the sign in front of Domenico’s Ristorante outside Pittsburgh to make offbeat and sometimes opinionated statements. An example of one such musing: “Is it OK to ask gay guys to form a straight line?”
But last week’s choice touched off a storm of controversy, including threats of a boycott, that Pollice said he regrets.
“I like to push stuff as far as it can go,” he told the Cranberry Patch. “I will never do that again, because it hurts people.”
After initially standing by his word choice — Pollice even altered it to read, “If This Sign Offends You, Call a Dead Soldier’s Parents to Complain — he had a meeting with local Muslim community leaders he said changed his mind.
He said he got a call Wednesday from a board member of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations requesting a meeting. Joining them were a member of the Muslim Association of Greater Pittsburgh, a pastor with the Unitarian Universalist Church and a member of a local anti-racism coalition.
Pollice told the Patch he’d never spent any time with Muslims before, and doing so changed his attitude.
“I think it was good thing for me,” he said of the meeting. “I’m better for the experience.”
Kazim Reza of the Muslim Association said he became aware of the sign after a woman forwarded an email about it to his organization and to several area mosques.
“She felt is was very, very inappropriate,” Reza said. “She felt hurt. She felt it was totally uncalled for.”
Talking to Pollice was a positive experience, he added.
“He was very calm and very apologetic for hurting the feelings of Muslims and others,” Reza said.
According to the Patch, with the dust-up behind him, Pollice is already back with a new quirky sign — one unlikely to ruffle any feathers: “Dolphins are Just Sharks Who Watch Glee.”