UPDATE: After a remarkable worldwide campaign by consumers and LGBT activists to boycott his family's pasta company, Guido Barilla has issued a second apology via video on the company's website. Claiming to be "depressed and saddened" by the reaction to his words and pledging to meet with organizations that "best represent the evolution of the family" in the coming weeks to learn how to better approach these issues, Barilla has clearly recognized the financial cost of homophobia.
The apology, welcome news for all those who were offended by Barilla's words and inspired to take action, is a good first start. However, as GLAAD's Rich Ferraro notes, Barilla's response cannot end with words. In order to show it truly respects LGBT people, it should adopt gay-friendly workplace policies and support groups working for LGBT equality in Italy.
Barilla pasta head Guido Barilla recently said, “I would never do an advert with a homosexual family…if the gays don’t like it they can go an eat another brand." Following Barilla's comments, Linda Ferraro, an Italian-American mom, has launched a Change.org petition calling on Stop & Shop to stop carrying Barilla pasta.
As an Italian-American mom, some of my favorite memories are of sitting around the dinner table with my husband and our three sons on Sunday after Church. Lots of tomato sauce, lots of laughs and lots of Barilla. In fact, there are several boxes of Barilla sitting in my cabinet right now. That is about to change.
My grandparents moved to Brooklyn, NY from Italy and taught me that family is more important than anything. I remembered that tradition when my son Rich was a teenager and cried at our dinner table as he told me he was gay.
This morning Rich called me and told me Guido Barilla, the head of Barilla pasta, said terrible things about gay people like him. Barilla said, “I would never do an advert with a homosexual family…if the gays don’t like it they can go an eat another brand. For us the concept of the sacred family remains one of the fundamental values of the company.” I have a newsflash for Guido Barilla: I am proud of my gay son and we are a traditional family.
Even though my sons are adults now, no one messes with any of my boys. I shop at Stop & Shop, and now that I dumped Barilla, I think they should, too. Please join me and urge Stop & Shop to take Barilla off their shelves.