Barilla Pasta King Makes Anti-Gay Comment, Sparks Boycott

Categories: Food Politics

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Barilla Pasta via Facebook
Is a mass boycott of Barilla in the cards?

Pasta king Guido Barilla might be in as much hot water as his pasta is after telling an Italian radio station that his company would never feature a gay couple an any Barilla advertising campaign.

According to Reuters, the chairman of Barilla told Italy's Radio 24, "I would never do (a commercial) with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect but because we don't agree with them. Ours is a classic family where the woman plays a fundamental role." Barilla was responding to a direct question about whether he would feature a gay family in a Barilla commercial.

In the interview, Barilla also opposed gay parents adopting children, but was OK with gay marriage. The 55 year-old fourth generation pasta baron also said, "If gays like our pasta and our advertising, they'll eat our pasta, if they don't like it then they will not eat it and they will eat another brand."

Aurelio Mancuso, chairman of Equality Italia, said that the comments were an "offensive provocation" and is "accepting the invitation of the owner of Barilla not to eat his pasta, re-launched with a call for a boycott of all its products." Mancuso has taken to social media to share his outrage, asking people to use the hashtag #boicottabarilla and #boycottbarilla.

In what was meant as an "apology" of sorts, Guido Barilla issued a statement on the company's Facebook page yesterday (auto translated) :


"With reference to my statements made yesterday, I apologize if my words have led to misunderstandings or controversy.

"For clarity I would like to point out that I have the deepest respect for any person, without distinction. I have the utmost respect for homosexuals and for freedom of expression to anyone. I also said and repeat that [I] respect marriages between persons of the same sex. Barilla in its advertising has always chosen to represent the family because this is a symbol of welcome...for all."

Barilla US then issued the following statement:

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.

Meanwhile, we found what could be Barilla's public relations answer to the potential firestorm -- this clever "unofficial" video that features a mock commercial where same-sex couples romance each other then eat pasta:


Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.



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10 comments
Lenny Lebowitz
Lenny Lebowitz

Yes i will eat there ,, we still have a freedom of speech here and if they are saying something i dont like while eating there i would ask them to stop it , ad a paying customer

Aleph F-Zero Alexis
Aleph F-Zero Alexis

So it's an issue if some rich guy doesn't stand 100% behind the LBGT thing, but you guys bashing nerds doing their own thing is ok? really?

Brian Bartlett
Brian Bartlett

I make one hell of a homeade spaghetti sauce, you damn right I will eat some pasta!

Cary Levinson
Cary Levinson

you sure this article (and every other one like it) isn't sparking the boycott? Barilla makes pasta, they are not a social policy think tank, they are not a gov't entity. Of course, the "King" can comment on whatever he wants, but why should anyone care - and why do i have to keep reading about it? shouldn't you treat his comments like those of the lunatics walking around downtown Fort Lauderdale screaming comparable nonsense? be responsible and stick to real issues please (and relevant local humor pieces).

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