Claim: The chairman of the Barilla pasta brand said he would never use homosexual couples in his advertisements.
Example:[Collected via e-mail, September 2013]
Any truth to what's on Facebook re: anti-gay sentiments by Barilla pasta CEO?
Origins: In September 2013, Guido Barilla, the chairman of Barilla Group, one of the world's leading pasta manufacturers, engendered controversy and prompted calls for boycotts when during the course of an interview with an Italian radio program, he responded to a question about whether he would ever feature a gay family in his company's commercials by saying (as roughly translated into English): "We won't include gays in our ads, because we like the traditional family. If gays don't like it, they can always eat another brand of pasta. Everyone is free to do what they want, provided it doesn’t bother anyone else":
Barilla — one of the best known pasta brands around the world — is one of Italy's biggest advertisers, and for many years has used the image of a happy family living in an idealised version of the Italian countryside, with the slogan: "Where there's Barilla, there's home."
"I would never do (a commercial) with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect but because we don't agree with them. Ours is a classic family where the woman plays a
fundamental role," Barilla, 55, said in an interview with Radio 24.
In the interview, Barilla said he opposed adoption by gay parents, but was in favour of allowing gay marriage, which is not legal in Italy. His comment about advertising was in response to a direct question about whether he would ever feature a gay family in his company's commercials.
If gays "like our pasta and our advertising, they'll eat our pasta, if they don't like it then they will not eat it and they will eat another brand," he said.
Then the pasta magnate upped the ante 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.
Guido Barilla subsequently issued a "clarification" (a typical evasive form of apology) for his remarks on the company's web site and Facebook page, stating:
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.