According to Huffington Post, Barilla pasta head Guido Barilla recently said: "For us, the 'sacral family' remains one of the company’s core values. Our family is a traditional family. If gays like our pasta and our advertisings, they will eat our pasta; if they don’t like that, they will eat someone else’s pasta..I would not do a commercial with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect toward homosexuals – who have the right to do whatever they want without disturbing others – but because I don’t agree with them, and I think we want to talk to traditional families."
Barilla's remarks sparked an outcry from LGBT organizations and allies in Italy and America, including Equality Italia, who has launched a full boycott of every Barilla product.
Following Barilla's comments, Linda Ferraro, an Italian-American mom living in Connecticut, 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.
Rich Ferraro, GLAAD's Vice President of Communications responded: "I'm lucky to have a family that has always stood by me and I hope other parents speak out against Mr. Barilla's anti-gay comments just like my mom is doing. Homophobia is bad for business - plain and simple. Mr. Barilla's opinion is ill informed, and he will soon learn that the new traditional family accepts gay and lesbian families and does not support companies that promote discrimination."
While Barilla issued a weak clarification today, GLAAD is continuing to urge the company to adopt job protections for its LGBT employees. Consumers can join #boycottbarilla or opt for competitors like Bertolli, a company that has included LGBT people in its advertising. The company received a GLAAD Media Award in Advertising in 2009 for this ad and was profiled in The New York Times.