Barilla just may not be Italy’s #1 pasta anymore! Just when you thought that you have seen it all, a story like this hits the headlines. Activists in Italy have called for a boycott of leading pasta brand Barilla after its chairman said he “would not use gay people in advertisements.” Guido Barilla, chairman of the company of the same name, told a radio interviewer the concept of the “classic” family was fundamental. If gay people disliked the concept, he said, they could “eat another brand”.
In the interview, Mr Barilla had been asked if advertisements for his company would ever feature a gay family. He responded by saying, “We have a slightly different culture.For us, the concept of sacred family remains one of the fundamental values of the company. Ours is a traditional family. If gays like our pasta and our communication, they will eat our pasta. If not, they can avoid it and eat another brand. You can’t please everyone in order to displease no-one”. He continues, “I wouldn’t do an ad with a homosexual family not because I disrespect gays – they have their right to do whatever they want without disturbing others – but because I don’t think like them and I think that the family we try to address is anyway a classic family.”
His comments were an “offensive provocation”, according to the head of gay rights group Equality Italia. “We accept the invitation from the Barilla owner to not eat his pasta,” Aurelio Mancuso said, urging a boycott of the company’s pasta, sauces, and snacks.
Interestingly enough, the hash tags Barilla and boicottabarilla (boycott Barilla) became top trending terms among Italians using Twitter. Alessandro Zan, a gay Italian MP, tweeted: “You can’t mess around with consumers, including gay ones.”
After the uproar, Mr Barilla issued a statement to apologize, explaining that he was 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.”
My main question is: are you going to buy/eat Barilla pasta ever again? Do you want to continue supporting a product fueled by a homophobic man? Or is this just free speech? Is he violating discrimination laws by publicly stating he will not allow homosexuals in his pasta commercials? Do you think he could have kept his mouth shut for the sake of his product? Should Mr. Barilla’s views on gays and lesbians have anything to do with his product?
Article Source: BBC News
Picture Source: Google