Barilla, the world’s largest pasta maker, is boiling in hot water after it’s CEO went on a homophobic rant regarding the use of gay couples in his advertisements.
According to The Independent, CEO Guido Barilla, 55, said on Italy’s La Zanzara on Radio24 Wednesday night that he would never use a gay family in advertisements, and if anyone, particularly “gays,” don’t like it, they can eat another brand of pasta. He even went one step further to bash gay couples who adopt children.
“I would never do an advert with a homosexual family. … if the gays don’t like it they can go and eat another brand,” he said. “For us the concept of the sacred family remains one of the fundamental values of the company.”
He continued: “Everyone has the right to do what they want without disturbing those around them," he said. “I have no respect for adoption by gay families because this concerns a person who is not able to choose," he said.
You can listen to the full podcast of Guido Barilla’s remarks here.
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The Parma, Italy-based company, privately owned by fourth-generation Barilla family member Guido, is known for its commercials displaying Italian families eating Barilla pasta with the tagline, “When there’s Barilla, there’s home.”
By Thursday afternoon in Italy, the company, which controls nearly half the Italian pasta market as well as a quarter in the United States, issued an apology, attributing quotes to its CEO.
“I’m sorry if my comments on La Zanzara have created misunderstanding or polemic, or if I’ve offended anyone. In the interview I only wanted to underline the central role of the woman in the family," Guido Barilla said.
Barilla’s Twitter account echoed the same apologetic sentiments on Thursday: "I apologize very much for having offended the sensibilities of many. I have the deepest respect for all the people without distinction."
However, LGBTQ activist groups are not backing down, many of whom are boycotting Barilla Pasta for the CEO’s homophobic comments.
“This is another example of Italian homophobia. I’m joining the boycott of Barilla and I hope other parliamentarians do the same,” gay rights campaigner Alessandro Zan of the Sel (Sinistra Ecologia Libertà) party told The Independent. The group plans to boycott Barilla and the 20 brands it owns, like Mulino Bianco, Pavesi, Voiello, Alixir and Academia Barilla ,Wasabröd in Sweden, Misko in Greece, Filiz in Turkey, Yemina and Vesta in Mexico.