Activists call for boycott of Barilla pasta
Activists have called for a boycott of Barilla pasta after the chairman of the Barilla group went on Italian radio suggesting his products were for traditional families and you would never see a homosexual family or couple in his ads.
Guido Barilla made the comments during an interview on Radio24 on Wednesday, after the host of 'La Zanzara' asked him why his company doesn’t feature ads with gay families.
Barilla responded: "We have a slightly different culture. For us, the 'sacral family' remains one of the company’s core values. Our family is a traditional family. If gays like our pasta and our advertising they will eat our pasta; if they don’t like that, they will eat someone else’s pasta. You can’t always please everyone not to displease anyone. I would not do a commercial with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect toward homosexuals – who have the right to do whatever they want without disturbing others – but because I don’t agree with them, and I think we want to talk to traditional families. The women are crucial in this."
Barilla went on to say he supported gay marriage but not gay adoption. "I respect same-sex marriage because that concerns people who want to contract marriage, but I absolutely don’t respect adoptions in gay families, because that concerns a person who is not the people who decide.”
Barilla’s comments have sparked outrage amongst LGBTI advocates and caused a backlash for the company in the media. Barilla issued an apology on twitter saying he was sorry for offending people’s sensibility. Saying, “I have the deepest respect for all the people without distinction."
Italian LGBTI activists are calling for a boycott of Barilla Pasta. Aurelio Mancuso, president of gay-rights group Equality Italia said “We accept his invitation to not eat his pasta," and urged for supporters of LGBTI rights to take up the cause.
"Here we have another example of homophobia, Italian style," said Alessandro Zan, an MP with the left-wing SEL party. "I'm boycotting Barilla and I invite other MPs to do the same. I've already changed pasta brands. Barilla is terrible quality."
Rich Ferraro, Vice President of Communications for GLAAD, told The Huffington Post in an emailed statement:
"These insulting anti-gay comments will not only lead to LGBT people skipping Barilla in favour of more inclusive brands like Bertolli, but their family members, friends and co-workers as well. Homophobia is bad for business - plain and simple. Mr. Barilla's opinion is ill informed, and he will soon learn that the new traditional family accepts gay and lesbian families and does not support companies that promote discrimination."
Barilla has since issued an apology on the company’s Facebook page.