After all of the backlash Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy faced last summer for his comments on traditional marriage, it’s a little surprising to see another major company make headlines for a similar issue. During a radio interview on Wednesday, Barilla pasta chairman Guido Barilla said that he would never use a gay couple in an advertisement. Barilla has since apologized.
“I would never do an advert with a homosexual family,” Barilla said during the interview. “If the gays don’t like it they can go an eat another brand. For us the concept of the sacred family remains one of the fundamental values of the company.” The Barilla pasta exec went on to say, “Everyone has the right to do what they want without disturbing those around them. I have no respect for adoption by gay families because this concerns a person who is not able to choose.”
Barilla later issued an apology, saying “I’m sorry if my comments on La Zanzara have created misunderstanding…or if I’ve offended anyone…I only wanted to underline the central role of the woman in the family.” The company also posted an apology on Twitter.
While we cannot undo words that have been said, we can apologize. To all of those that we have hurt or offended, we are deeply sorry.
— Barilla US (@BarillaUS) September 26, 2013
The privately held pasta company is one of the best-selling pasta brands in the world, but they could see their numbers drop, as some gay rights groups and individuals are calling for a boycott. GLAAD pleaded with people on Twitter to boycott Barilla pasta and keep “homophobia off the table.” Someone also started a petition to boycott Barilla pasta on MoveOn.org, which currently has more than 70,000 signatures.
— GLAAD (@glaad) September 27, 2013
Pasta maker Barilla says they don't support LBGT and if gays don't like it they can go eat another brand of Pasta. #GoodbyeBarilla See Ya.
— drhug (@drhug) September 27, 2013
Just like the situation with Chick-Fil-A, many people are defending Barilla’s right to voice his stance on marriage.
— ConcernedONE (@SarcastiCat) September 27, 2013
@MeresVeilleuses I'm Italian and in Italy the majority of people support Barilla and his declarations!
— Peppe L. (@PeppeL2) September 27, 2013