Last month, Guido Barilla, the company chairman of Barilla, the world’s biggest pasta maker, said he would never use homosexual couples in his advertisements because the concept of the sacred family remains one of the fundamental values of the company.
According to The Independent, Barilla, whose firm has almost half the Italian pasta market and a quarter of that in the US, told Italy’s La Zanzara radio show:
“I would never do an advert with a homosexual family…if the gays don’t like it they can go an eat another brand.”
“Everyone has the right to do what they want without disturbing those around them”. But Barilla went on by attacking gay adoption. “I have no respect for adoption by gay families because this concerns a person who is not able to choose,” he said.
Gay rights groups are calling for a boycott of pasta maker Barilla and Alessandro Zan, a gay rights campaigner said, “This is another example of Italian homophobia. I’m joining the boycott of Barilla and I hope other parliamentarians do the same.”
Zan is also an MP in the left-wing Sel (Sinistra Ecologia Libertà) party.
“It’s depressing that a businessman used to working and travelling around the world should say what Guido Barilla had said. I certainly won’t be buying his products any more,” said Ivan Scalfarotto, an MP in the centre-left Democratic Party.
Guido Barilla later recanted. “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,” he said.
The Bertolli brand, which originated as an Italian brand of extra-virgin olive oil, and grew into an international brand of Italian and Mediterranean food, is now capitalizing on Barilla’s misguided homophobia.
Bertolli Germany responded with an ad that translates to “pasta and love for all,” including pairs of the same types of pasta walking side-by-side down a spoon. The new ad was posted on Facebook.
The Facebook caption read: “Love and pasta for all!” “We just wanted to spread the news that Bertolli welcomes everyone, especially those with an empty stomach.”
Mashable claims it’s not the company’s first pro-equality ad. Bertolli U.S. ran a commercial that featured a gay couple back in 2009.
And The Consumerist notes competitor Ronzoni wants potential customers to know that they welcome all customers, whether they prefer penne or conchigliette.