Barilla Pasta in Hot Water Over Company President's Anti-Gay Comments

×
GERMANY KAMPS
AP file/Bernd KammererGuido Barilla
The president of Barilla is apologizing after disparaging remarks he made about gay families led to swift calls for a boycott of the pasta brand.

Guido Barilla told an Italian radio station that he wouldn't consider using a gay family to advertise the company's pasta, saying that "the concept of the sacred family remains one of the basic values of the company." While he said that he had respect for gay people, he went on to say that gay consumers who disagreed with his message were welcome to enjoy a different brand of pasta.

Unfortunately for Barilla, a lot of people appear eager to take him up on the offer.

Barilla trended on Twitter for perhaps the first time ever, and it appears a boycott is now well under way. The executive quickly issued a clarification of his comments, writing on the Barilla corporate website that he had "utmost respect" for gay people and their marriages and that he apologized if "[his] words have generated controversy or misunderstanding, or if they hurt someone's sensitivity."

It's the sort of non-apology apology -- the classic "sorry you were offended" -- that's unlikely to soothe anyone's hurt "sensitivity." And there's no doubt that it was a boneheaded business move. As the winds of political change has shifted in favor of gay rights and same-sex marriage, many brands and companies have lined up to affirm their support for the LGBT community. The one company to buck the trend, Chick-fil-A, was the subject of a serious backlash when its president, Dan Cathy, affirmed his company's opposition to gay marriage.

The fast-food chain has more or less weathered that storm, largely on the strength of brand loyalty to its tasty chicken sandwiches, and support from the demographic that agrees with Cathy's politics. But we're guessing there's a bit less loyalty to Barilla, which has plenty of competition on the shelves from other brands of dried pasta. Some fans may stay loyal to its prepared pasta sauce products, and there may yet be a counter-protest or "buy-in" from conservatives who share Barilla's stance.

But the Barilla brand is now intertwined with its president's ill-advised comments, and that's going to have a lot of grocery shoppers reaching for the Ronzoni instead of the Barilla the next time they need spaghetti.

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Advice for Recent College Grads

Prepare yourself for the "real world".

View Course »

Goal Setting

Want to succeed? Then you need goals!

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

232 Comments

Filter by:
Cranberry Township-g

PRO-GAY BIGOTS

we hear the word "bigot" following "anti-gay" almost as much as we hear "woman" following the word "strong". it's like the thought-police want us to put each set of words together automatically and without thought.

now, let's put aside the fact that the lackluster physical make-ups of members of the little gender (the shorter/smaller/weaker gender) will always make a complete and total oxymoron out of the term "Strongwoman," just so we can focus on the term "anti-gay bigot". has anyone given any thought to the fact that the ones who usually utter this term are actually pro-gay bigots whose minds are totally closed-off to anything that puts homosexuality in a bad light? they are as hell-bent PRO-GAY as i am hell-bent ANTI-GAY.

homosexuality is forced upon the population by pro-gay bigots. media, academia, where isn't homosexuality always celebrated and never criticized? pro-gay bigots run amuck in the media, just as much as the "strong women" who can't budge a 100-pound barbell. pro-gay bigots have even gone to the ridiculous extreme of editing the bible to take out every negative reference to homosexuality. now, aside from making gays seem weak enough to fall in the face of criticism, making edits of the most famous book of all time sounds quite orwellian. "you VILL not have any problems vith homosexuality, and you vill LIKE IT".

why don't pro-gay bigots make edits to the seven deadly sins - let's get PRIDE and LUST out of there and save a little more face. oh, i guess they've probably already done that.

actually, call me a bad christian, but i am one to find fault with anyone who has to get their anti-gay attitudes from any god's bible or from any other outside source, because anyone who doesn't see anything self-compromising and self-disrespecting in a "man" staring open-mouthed and wide-eyed-curious at another man has no sense of gender-identity. to borrow a phrase from a brilliantly-radiant (pun intended) stephen king novel, let me say that the respect i have for myself as a man is "all shot to ****" if i'm gawking at another masculine body. i am man enough to realize that i'm a masculivoid when i'm gawking in utmost reverence at another man's body, and it is a self-esteem issue to leave oneself feeling a void for masculinity when masculinity is what one's self IS...and has been since birth.

we don't need no bible to tell us what's wrong with homosexuality.

pro-gay bigots are so hell-bent in their close-mindedness, that they want people to buy into the whole "born this way" propaganda so that nobody has the nerve to question the legitimacy of homosexuality. i am one to believe that nobody can be "born with" an emotional desire for (or a psychological dependence on) anything, because the brain that spawns anyone's emotional desires and psychological dependences has nothing to base them on when it has just left the womb. speaking of having nothing to base anyone's sense of reality on, one would think that anyone who

November 02 2013 at 10:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
betty_brock

For heaven sake. He just said he wouldn't use gays in his commercials. That is NOT gay bashing.

September 29 2013 at 9:49 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to betty_brock's comment
Marvin Buddy Threatt

He said "gays can eat someone else's pasta". They agreed.

October 01 2013 at 1:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
roxanne

I have always enjoyed Barilla pasta. However, I am so tired of all the racists and anti gay statements in this world. My GOD when are people going to grow up. Everybody has a right to be who and what they are.
I wonder how haters live with themselves, and feel is alright to hurt other feelings. When those same haters get sick or need a job or shop who do you think some of the workers. The same people you have insulted.

September 28 2013 at 4:43 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to roxanne's comment
betty_brock

Love the sinner, hate the sin.

September 29 2013 at 9:49 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to betty_brock's comment
Marvin Buddy Threatt

Mark 12:31: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than this." Luke 6:31 - Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Remember to hate your own sins or None of it works.

October 01 2013 at 1:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
teegarden6

homosexuals needs to understand most people with morals and values know the homosexual life style is a dark and foreboding lifestyle and prefer to not use it as a wholesome enity.

September 28 2013 at 4:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dross4319

I'll continue to use Barilla pasta, if the gay (queer) community doesn't like it, they can use Mission Pasta (an inferior brand to say the least in my opinion.)

September 28 2013 at 1:44 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Steve Schiffman

I purchase an item because I enjoy it. I respect diversity of opinion; that is the sign of a true liberal!.

September 28 2013 at 1:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Johnny !

I am a straight man and will never buy this company's products again. If the head of the company is that ignorant and insensitive, I'm not interested in his products. In fact, DeCecco Pasta is far superior, and that's what I shall buy from now on.

September 28 2013 at 12:26 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
dapperone

Why didn't the guy just keep his mouth shut? Did anyone ask him if he would use a gay family in company ads ? I don't think many companies would. Why should they? But they don't make it an issue. I like Barilla sauces. The guy said what he believed, but he was stupid to say it in the first place.

September 27 2013 at 11:42 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
armafacts

perfect example of "sit quietly and appear stupid rather than open your mouth and remove all doubt"

September 27 2013 at 11:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rickey

I won't buy any Barilla products anymore. I am a 56yr old hetro-conservative white male that cooks and is tired of people hating on other people.

September 27 2013 at 11:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply