Barilla chairman walks back anti-gay statements

World's largest pasta manufacturer finds itself in controversy after chairman's homophobic comments

Topics: Barilla, Pasta, Homophobia, boycott, Equality Italia, Grub Street,

Barilla chairman walks back anti-gay statements

As reported by Grub Street, pasta giant Barilla is in full-on damage control mode after chairman Guido Barilla said in an interview that the company would “never” make a commercial depicting a homosexual family. “Ours is a classic family where the woman plays a fundamental role,” Barilla said, before adding, “if the gays do not agree, they can always eat pasta from another manufacturer.” The gay rights advocacy organization Equality Italia took up Barilla’s request by quickly launching a boycott.

More from Grub Street:



Barilla is the world’s largest pasta-maker — it even teamed up with McDonald’s in Italy on some co-branded McPasta — and the company typically hosts an immense, carbo-loading pre-marathon dinner each year in New York City. It’s a brand with worldwide reach, which is perhaps why it was quick to deliver an apology in a near-supersonic response time, clarifying what it means, exactly, with its slogan “Where there’s Barilla, there’s home.” Here’s a translation from the original Italian:

I apologize if my words have generated controversy or misunderstanding, and if they have offended the sensibilities of some people.

For clarity, I wish to point out that I have the deepest respect for all persons, without distinction of any kind.

I have the utmost respect for homosexuals and freedom of expression to anyone.

[...]

Barilla in its advertising has always chosen to represent the family because this is the symbol of hospitality and affection for everyone.

 

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is staff writer at Salon, focusing on politics. Follow him on Twitter at @eliasisquith, and email him at eisquith@salon.com.

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