Barilla chairman says ‘Ciao’ to gay customers
Guido Barilla, chairman of the pasta manufacturer of the same name, said gays could eat other brands of pasta if they didn’t like his company’s traditional family values. The pasta heir told 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” on Wednesday, reports Reuters.
Barilla’s slogan is “Where there’s Barilla, there’s home,” and many of the ads feature rustic family scenes in Italy. Barilla also told the interviewer that he does not approve of gay adoption, although he supports gay marriage. He did not seem to care if he lost gay customers from the company’s traditional advertisements. He 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.”
Barilla apologized for his comments on Thursday and said he trying to say “simply that the woman plays a central role in a family.” He added, “Barilla features families in its commercials because it embraces anyone, and they have always been identified with our brand.” The controversial comments have already set off a barrage of tweets against the pasta company.
Editor-in-chief Matthew Breen of The Advocate wrote, “If head of Barilla pasta says his product isn’t for you (LGBTs), then it’s time to buy another brand,” while Ted Allen mused, “Funny/weird, considering Barilla once hired me for a national PR gig–while Queer Eye was on the air.”
Barilla’s corporate account tweeted (translated): “I apologize very much for having offended the sensibilities of many. I have the deepest respect for all the people without distinction,” and wrote on Facebook, “I have the utmost respect for homosexuals.”