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Published On: Fri, Sep 27th, 2013

Guido Barilla, head of pasta maker, won’t feature gays in ad so a LGBT protest begins

Move over Chick-fil-A, Barilla has raised the ire of gay activists.

Barilla the next target? NATIONAL SAME SEX KISS DAY at Chick-fil-A at 825 Ellsworth Drive in Silver Spring, Maryland on Friday afternoon, 3 August 2012 by Elvert Barnes Protest Photography

Barilla the next target?
NATIONAL SAME SEX KISS DAY at Chick-fil-A at 825 Ellsworth Drive in Silver Spring, Maryland on Friday afternoon, 3 August 2012 by Elvert Barnes Protest Photography

Guido Barilla, age 55, the pasta company’s chairman, is headed for a storm as gay activists are calling for a massive boycott gay and lesbian activists voice outrage over the businessman’s recent comments about not placing same-sex couples in company advertisements.

On Wednesday, Barilla told Radio 24, an Italian radio station, about his views on both family and homosexuality.

“I would never do [a commercial] with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect but because we don’t agree with them,” he said, according to Reuters. “Ours is a classic family where the woman plays a fundamental role.”

The Guardian has another version of some of the comments that were uttered on-air:

“For us the concept of the sacred family remains one of the basic values of the company,” he told Italian radio on Wednesday evening. “I would not do it but not out of a lack of respect for homosexuals who have the right to do what they want without bothering others … [but] I don’t see things like they do and I think the family that we speak to is a classic family.”

Asked what effect he thought his attitude would have on gay consumers of pasta, Barilla said: “Well, if they like our pasta and our message they will eat it; if they don’t like it and they don’t like what we say they will … eat another.”

On Thursday, in an effort to clarify and apologize, the company put out a release, noting that a woman’s role is essential to the family and that this was the point Barilla was trying to make.

“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,” The Independent quotes today’s apology as reading.

Here’s the full text that was posted on the Barilla Group website:

With reference to remarks made yesterday to an Italian radio program, I apologize if my words have generated controversy or misunderstanding, or if they hurt someone’s sensitivity.

For clarity, I would like to point out that:

– I have the utmost respect for anyone, without distinction of any kind.

– I have the utmost respect for gay people and for everyone’s right to express themselves.

– I’ve also said — and I would like to reiterate — that I respect gay marriages.

– In its advertising, Barilla represents the family – because it’s what welcomes everyone.

Guido Barilla

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