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Pasta Doesn’t Discrimminate, But Some People Do

Posted by T. Resnikoff // September 27th 2013 // Issues and Trends // no comments

As a privately held company, Barilla is immune from shareholder advocacy ¹, but as a consumer products company the threat of boycott is real. Chairman Guido Barilla’s comments provide an opportunity for people of faith to act together in rejecting intolerance and homophobia. – Ed.

Barilla Chairman Stands By Anti-Gay Ad Policy, Citing Family Values

(Re-posted from the Huffington Post)

BarillaOmofobiAW-620x349The chairman of Barilla Group, the world’s largest pasta company, has issued a semi-apology after saying he refuses to feature gay families in advertisements for his products because he prefers a “traditional” family.


But he’s sticking to his stance. “I apologize if my words generated misunderstandings or controversy or if they hurt some people’s feelings,” Guido Barilla wrote in a post on the company’s Facebook page Thursday, according to a translation from the Italian by The Huffington Post.

Barilla sparked a firestorm on Wednesday when he said in an interview on the Italian radio show “La Zanzara” that he simply wouldn’t consider showing gays in commercials for one of his brands because it touts a “perfect family.”

“For us, the sacral family remains one of the company’s core values,” he said. “Our family is a traditional family. If gays like our pasta and our advertising, they will eat our pasta; if they don’t like that, they will eat someone else’s pasta.”

BarillaBoycott2AW-620x349“I would not do a commercial with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect toward homosexuals — who have the right to do whatever they want without disturbing others — but because I don’t agree with them and I think we want to talk to traditional families,” he continued.


In his Facebook post on Thursday, Barilla wrote that he had intended to “underline the centrality of the woman’s role in the family.”

“To be clear, I just want to specify that I do have great respect for every person, without any kind of distinction. I do respect gay people and everybody’s freedom of expression. I also said I do respect gay marriage,” he wrote.

Yet his opinion on excluding gays from his company’s marketing hasn’t changed. “Barilla in its advertising has always chosen to represent the family because this is the symbol of hospitality and affection for everyone,” he wrote.

Read the full story on the Huffington Post here.

Learn more about the controversy and resulting boycott:

On social media:

Barilla US Facebook page

Twitter: #boicottbarilla

Tumblr: Jumping Jack Trash

Tumblr: Revolutionary Gay Magazine


In the news:

Barilla to Gays: Eat Someone Else’s PastaThe Advocate

Pasta firm Barilla boycotted over ‘classic family’ remarks –  The Guardian

Living in the past-a: Barilla suggests gays can ‘eat another’ pasta –  Sydney Morning Herald

Boycotting Barilla pasta for anti-gay remarks? A couple of suggestions –  LA Times /Opinion


¹ Learn more about shareholder advocacy and Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) at the UUA.

About the Author

Ted Resnikoff is the Digital Communications Editor at the Unitarian Universalist Association.
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