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Bigoted Barilla Boss Helps Gays Choose What Isn’t for Dinner

Bigoted Barilla Boss Helps Gays Choose What Isn’t for Dinner

Barilla Pasta, one of the world’s most popular Italian food brands, won’t be featuring gay people in their ads anytime soon. In fact, according to the company’s chairman, Guido Barilla, if gays don’t like it, “they can always go eat someone else’s pasta.”

The Independent reports on a radio interview Barilla took part in on Wednesday:

Guido Barilla, whose firm has almost half the Italian pasta market and a quarter of that in the US, told Italy’s La Zanzara radio show last night: “I would never do an advert with a homosexual family…if the gays don’t like it they can go and eat another brand.

“For us the concept of the sacred family remains one of the fundamental values of the company.”

He added: “Everyone has the right to do what they want without disturbing those around them”. But then the pasta magnate upped the ante by attacking gay adoption. “I have no respect for adoption by gay families because this concerns a person who is not able to choose,” he said.

He did, however, say that he supports the right to same-sex marriage.

Quicker than you could get the lid off a jar of pasta sauce, boycott talk was in the air, with Aurelio Mancuso of Equality Italia reportedly saying this is an “offensive provocation” and that the community accepts “the invitation from the Barilla owner to not eat his pasta.”

Barilla’s remarks even prompted openly gay Italian MP Alessandro Zan to warn, “You can’t mess around with consumers, including gay ones.”

The controversy didn’t have to boil long before Barilla issued a statement.

Apparently, everyone is taking his actual words for what they actually mean instead of what he now claims they mean:

“With reference to statements made yesterday, I apologize if my words have generated controversy or misunderstanding, or if they have hurt the sensibilities of some people. In the interview I simply wanted to highlight the central role of the woman in the family… [I] the utmost respect for any person, without distinction of any kind… [and] the greatest respect for gays and for the freedom of expression of anyone.”

You see, we misunderstood his words as being anti-gay when really he’s just pro-women, so long as they’re cooking — like any good woman should — Barilla pasta and practically chucking it at any good looking man that walks by, well, at least according to Barilla commercials. But pasta’s sexy, right? And also, remember the whole diatribe where he specifically derided same-sex parent adoption? Respect all around, you’ll agree.

Meanwhile, Barilla US has posted to Facebook a more contrite and meaningful apology, saying:

At Barilla, we consider it our mission to treat our consumers and partners as our neighbors — with love and respect — and to deliver the very best products possible. We take this responsibility seriously and consider it a core part of who we are as a family-owned company. While we can’t undo recent remarks, we can apologize. To all of our friends, family, employees, and partners that we have hurt or offended, we are deeply sorry.

However, the boycott calls rumble on and it looks like the gay community will be saying “No” to stocking Barilla in the same way that the community said “I prefer healthy arteries” to “traditional family” Chick-fil-A last year.

This has been made even easier by the ever helpful Human Rights Campaign, which has provided us with a list of equality loving pasta producers to keep your pantry packed with penne and pesto — though as always with these kinds of lists there are other issues to consider like the fact that a Target brand of pasta is on the list despite Target donating to PACs that support anti-gay Republicans, and wider issues concerning Monsanto that might be on your mind.

Barilla is of course free to hold whatever opinions he wants, just as the LGBT community is free to decide to eat elsewhere. What’s interesting in this case is how quickly the company and apparently Barilla himself acknowledged what a massive PR blunder this was and how, increasingly, it just doesn’t pay to be anti-gay.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock.

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189 comments

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8:50AM PDT on Oct 3, 2013

When he backtracked on his homophobia (for lack of a better term), he veered right into sexism. "The central role of the woman in the family"? Really? Because gay men can't boil pasta and fix a nice dinner?

12:40AM PDT on Oct 3, 2013

To Eleonora O: Hi. I almost missed your post. Thanks for the link, I signed it. I have a lot of info for my page about Puerto Rico but got stuck w/ the Treaty of Paris, right at the start, because the page kept "elongating" every time I hit "edit". A friend is coming over soon to provide techno help.
To B Mutiny: Excellent!

3:02PM PDT on Oct 2, 2013

continued,
To deny Gay People the Rights of everybody else, to Marry and to Raise Children, is not ONLY some idiot's private opinion, and "harmless". Like Racial Prejudice, it is HARMFUL. That is why IT SHOULD BE KEPT IN PRIVATE. Among your friends who will "understand", maybe. Altho even there, it might be challenged! But to blather about it in Public - well, EXPECT CONSEQUENCES. Just as for blatant Racism, Sexism - Ethnic Minorities and Women AREN'T TAKING IT ANY MORE. No reason why Gay People should "take it", either.
And you don't have to be Gay, or a Woman, or an Ethnic Minority to BE ON THE SIDE OF HUMANITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS FOR ALL.

3:00PM PDT on Oct 2, 2013

continued,
Nobody is disputing Guido Barilla's Free Speech or his right to his own opinions.
When he says something publicly, and AS a Spokesperson for the Company he heads, then it DOES REFLECT ON THE COMPANY. Which may hurt a lot of people who are innocent and don't share those views {as the Company sales plummet}. This is something MOST Company heads think about - maybe there is a difference between their Public and Private stances! Supposing he had said, honestly believing it, that "Hitler was a good person" or "the Holocaust never happened", or "Terrorists are giving the U.S. what it deserves". Probably IF he really believed those things - and there are people who do! - he wouldn't SAY them as a spokesperson for Barilla!
There is no reason why Gay People, just like Unionizing Workers, like Ethnic Minorities, like Women, shouldn't UNITE to SPREAD INFORMATION and to BOYCOTT. There is no "Gay Mafia" - there are just MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF GAY PEOPLE AND THEIR ALLIES. It is not some tiny, "subversive" group. WE ARE SPEAKING FOR ALL HUMANITY.
To deny Gay People the Rights of everybody else, to Marry and to Raise Children, is not ONLY some idiot's private opinion, and "harmless". Like Racial Prejudice, it is HARMFUL. That is why IT SHOULD BE KEPT IN PRIVATE. Among your friends who will "understand", maybe. Altho even there, it might be challenged! But to blather about it in Public - well, EXPECT CONSEQUENCES. Just as for blatant Racism, Sexism - Ethnic Minorities and Wom

2:41PM PDT on Oct 2, 2013

People boycott companies for any number of reasons. We can boycott a company for not treating its workers right; because its workers are on strike; because it racially discriminates; it treats women as second-class; or for any number of reasons. Boycotts are by nature NON-VIOLENT; but they certainly can be THREATENING, and to be feared, as they can WRECK a company by perfectly legal, non-violent means.
Barilla has 1/4 the U.S. market share, and 1/2 the European share - or, should I say, HAD?
People are perfectly free to Boycott or not Boycott, and as with Chic-fil-A, there is a tiny backlash of people who now WILL buy Barilla, to support homophobia.
Guido Barilla can say anything he wants. His rival Pasta brands are gleefully taking advantage! They are free to do what they want, too. Bertolli has come out with a clever Gay-friendly ad right away; and they had Gay-themed videos out on Gay network TV as early as 2009. That's THEIR Free Speech.
Gays are a HUGE market. Their families, friends and Allies are a HUGE market too. Homophobes are a DIMINISHING market. Gays often "set trends". Anybody, any company or spokesperson is free to say anything - but IT WILL HAVE REPERCUSSIONS. Suppose they said "we hate kids" or "our Pasta is not for kids". They'd LOSE a huge Market Share, uh-huh?

1:43PM PDT on Oct 2, 2013

To Liliana ... a bit off topic: I do recall your interesting writing about your country including the Island of Vieques - it came to my mind when I read this petition and thought you might want to sign too out of solidarity? The US Military Industrial Complex is at it again!

http://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=8605
"Don't Destroy Pagan Island"

Text:
"The U.S. Marine Corps' proposal to turn Pagan Island into a live-fire bombing range is based on the false claim that the island is "desolate and uninhabitable." In fact many species live there, among them homo sapiens. Do not allow what was done to Vieques to be done to Pagan."

Thanks for considering signing and spreading the link!! Stay safe ...

12:18PM PDT on Oct 2, 2013

Mr Barilla should know that u have to say what the people want to hear....honesty and personal opinions dont matter anymore...If truth were ever told I bet most of the Pasta companies feel the way he feels...Im a believer of everyone has their right to how they feel U do not have to like or approve of everything and honesty is so refreshing...Please dont bother calling me out Im for gays just like Im for honesty..

11:11AM PDT on Oct 2, 2013

First rule of holes, Mr. Barilla: Stop digging. First we have homophobia, then a bit more with some added sexism - what next?

12:22AM PDT on Oct 2, 2013

ty

11:51PM PDT on Oct 1, 2013

Time for a good old fashioned boycott!

Actually, I already go with whole wheat or ancient grains pasta with no GMOs not made by Barilla. But there are other pasta related proucts by Barilla and those I will boycott.

We are each entitled to our own opinion, but it has been shown in the US courts that if you are offering a product or service to the public, you cannot discriminate.

For Barilla's sake, I hope they finally realise that all God's children have to eat and many enjoy pasta.

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