© 2024 Blaze Media LLC. All rights reserved.
Evolution of the Family': Barilla Pasta Exec Posts Video Apology Amid Gay Activists' Calls for Boycott

Evolution of the Family': Barilla Pasta Exec Posts Video Apology Amid Gay Activists' Calls for Boycott

"I've never discriminated against anyone."

Recent comments by Guido Barilla, chairman of Barilla Group, a brand known for its pasta products, have sparked international calls for a boycott. At the center of the debate are statements the businessman made about homosexuality during a radio interview last Wednesday.

The company subsequently put out a statement to temper anger, but to no avail. Barilla has now also released a video featuring the chairman apologizing and pledging to meet with groups who were offended by his comments. In the clip Barilla said that the situation has left him both "depressed and saddened."

Photo Credit: Frank Augsteinb/AP

"Through my entire life, I've always respected every person I've met, including gays and their families without any distinction," he said in the short video. "I've never discriminated against anyone."

In addition to offering a personal defense, Barilla also pledged to learn more about the debate surrounding homosexuality and same-sex relationships.

"It is clear that I have a lot to learn about the lively debate concerning the evolution of the family," the businessman continued. "In the coming weeks, I pledge to meet representatives of the groups that best represent the evolution of the family including those who have been offended by my words."

Watch the video, below:

These comments are a major departure from the views he espoused last week.

“I would never do [a commercial] with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect but because we don’t agree with them,” he told Radio 24, according to Reuters. “Ours is a classic family where the woman plays a fundamental role.”

In the same interview (read it here, but you’ll need to translate it from Italian), Barilla said he also opposes gay adoption but is in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage (it’s currently not legal in Italy, as Reuters notes).

Last Thursday -- just one day later -- in an effort to clarify and apologize, the company put out a release, noting that a woman’s role is essential to the family and that this was the point Barilla was trying to make. Here’s the full text that was posted on the Barilla Group website:

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.

Guido Barilla

The latest video apology is likely part of an effort to temper bad press and to stem international calls for a boycott.

It's unclear what next steps Barilla will take and what the meetings he has pledged to hold will encompass. But in an interview with USA Today, GLAAD, a gay-rights group, spoke out on the matter, offering up one of the solutions that the organization believes could help the situation.

The group's Vice President Rich Ferraro suggested that Barilla Group provide financial assistance to gay and lesbian organizations in Italy, where the company is based.

"I think the public backlash shows that homophobia is bad for business today because we're living in a world where LGBT people are respected and accepted," said the gay rights activist. "That wasn't the case five years ago."

(H/T: USA Today)



Want to leave a tip?

We answer to you. Help keep our content free of advertisers and big tech censorship by leaving a tip today.
Want to join the conversation?
Already a subscriber?