By: Christine Nicco/TRT Reporter—
A chairman for Barilla, the world’s largest pasta producer, has created a chain reaction and a major boycott from the LGBT community, allies, consumers and even some politicians, after he said via a radio interview on Sept. 25 that his company would not advertise gay people in their ads. He further added, that if gays didn’t like it, they could “eat someone else’s pasta,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
“I would never make a spot with a homosexual family,” said Guido Barilla, who controls the fourth-generation Barilla Group family business. “Not out of a lack of respect, but because I do not see it like they do (My idea of) family is a classic family where the woman has a fundamental role.”
The boycott prompted uproar amongst major LGBT organization in the U.S. and according to The Guardian, gay rights activists in Italy have launched a boycott against the pasta company too.
To the widespread reaction, Barilla released yet another statement trying to calm the choppy waters. This message was posted at Barilla’s U.S. Facebook page.
“At Barilla, we consider it our mission to treat our consumers & partners as our neighbors — with love & respect — to deliver the very best products possible. We take this responsibility seriously & 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, & partners that we have hurt or offended, we are deeply sorry.”
Two online petitions have already been filed by consumers and reactions to the comments were all over Twitter and Facebook. The largest petition was launched by Italian nobel prize winner Dario Fo. The other petition was launched by an Italian American mom from Connecticut, Linda Ferraro, urging Stop & Shop to stop carrying Barilla pasta products in their stores. [pullquote]Two online petitions have already been filed by consumers.[/pullquote]
The Human Rights Campaign also condemned the pasta company chairman’s comments and came up with pro-gay alternative pasta products from companies with a high or perfect score from HRC’s Corporate Equality Index. It recommended Market Pantry from Target Corp, Chef Boyardee from ConAgra Foods, DeBoles and Rosetto pastas from Hain Celestial Group, and Macaroni Grill from General Mills. HRC’s Corporate Equality Index is the national tool on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT employees.
[An in-depth story from TRT will follow this initial report].