Last week, the president of the Barilla Group, Guido Barilla, said his company wouldn’t use gay people in advertising for its pasta products.
“For us, the concept of the sacred family remains one of the basic values of the company,” he said in a radio interview. “I would not do it, but not out of a lack of respect for homosexuals, who have the right to do what they want without bothering others … [but] I don’t see things like they do and I think the family that we speak to is a classic family.”
As reaction erupted, Barilla apologized for his remarks. “I understand that they were hurtful and they are not a genuine view of my opinion,” he said.
His apology didn’t carry as much weight as his original comments, and plenty of people want to boycott Barilla products. One of those people, Beth Allen of Takoma Park, started a petition at MoveOn.org to urge a boycott.
“My family, and especially my 12-year-old son, eats a lot of pasta. We often choose Barilla pasta because of the wide variety available at our local grocery store,” Allen, who has two children and married her partner in January, writes in her petition. “No more. Today, Barilla Pasta President Guido Barilla made it clear how he felt about families like mine by saying that he’d never show gay families in advertisements for Barilla. He said that gays could eat another pasta if they didn’t like his message. I’m taking him up on that and so should you.”
As of early Monday afternoon, the petition, addressed to Barilla, had more than 125,000 signatures.