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.
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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.