BARILLA’S APOLOGIES TO LGBT COMMUNITY: Maybe Forgive But Never Forgot…

BARILLA TORNA A PRODURRE SUGHI PER LA PASTA DOPO 40 ANNI


«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», said chairman Guido Barilla, who later apologized. Guido Barilla, chairman of Italian and European food company Barilla, told wednesday that gay couples will not appear in his company’s advertising. Interviewed during the radio show “La Zanzara”, Mr. Barilla spoke about the role of women and gays in advertising.

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Asked about the statements of Laura Boldrini, speaker of the Italian House of Deputies, who criticized stereotypes of women as “mother who serves at the table”, Barilla said: «Advertising is a very serious matter and should be handled by people who understand it. Speaker Boldrini doesn’t understand the role of women in advertising: women as mothers, grandmothers, lovers, housewives, caregivers. All of this actions and activities ennoble their role. Women are extremely important for advertising, not only in Italy. In all countries the woman is extremely used in advertising. I think it’s pretty pathetic that the speaker of the House lowers herself talking about advertising, which she doesn’t have the skills to understand. Communication is a fundamental stimulus for commerce: everyone makes it as he sees fit, in accordance with the rules. There are authorities that control advertisings: if someone fails, he receive a reprimand and a fine»

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Asked about why his company – which also controls the “Mulino Bianco” brand with its famous “perfect family” communication – does not do commercials with gay families, Guido Barilla, who is 55, said: «We have a slightly different culture. 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. You can’t always please everyone not to displease anyone. 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. The women are crucial in this. I respect everyone, they can do what they want without disturbing others. You have the right to do whatever you want in your house without disturbing those around you, claiming more or less legitimate rights. I respect same-sex marriage because that concerns people who want to contract marriage, but I absolutely don’t respect adoptions in gay families, because that concerns a person who is not the people who decide»

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Barilla was founded in 1877 by Pietro Barilla, Guido Barilla’s great-grandfather. It controls Barilla (multinational pasta maker), Mulino Bianco, Pavesi, Voiello, Alixir and Academia Barilla (Italy), Wasabröd (Sweden), Misko (Greece), Filiz (Turkey), Yemina and Vesta (Mexico) trademarks. Mr. Barilla apologized  in the Barilla Twitter account about his declarations. But worldwide gay community will apologized him ? His words were really terrible. So we are sure that gay people arround the planet will pay attention from today on the pasta brands they are going to buy. And as Mr. Barilla says…there is a lot of other brands producing good and better pasta that need to sell his products to any human beeing even if is not part of a “traditional” family. Mr. Barilla’s action rememer us this funny Wendel’s comic stripe:

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Updates: The aologies keep coming from Barilla and its CEO, but it’s unclear whether any apology will be enough to stop the growing boycott. Here below is the video Guido Barilla swears he’s “never discriminated against anyone” and promises to meet with LGBT activists. He had already apologized via a series of statements. Of course the web comunity don’t agree with this video. They even make a parody ( see the video after ) about how the original video was taken. To understand the reaction of the people after this video message, just follow below the videos some comments from www.queerty.com on this argument.

Comments in the Web:

 · fagburn – Clearly not. The gay hysterics will never forgive anyone.

· Ron Jackson – I can forgive them their homophobia but I still will not buy their products.

· Jake357 – Apologies are like assholes… I’m not concerned with another hollow apology communicated out of P.R. pressure. What does he have to apologize for anyway? He spoke his mind. Now we know where he stands and we can make our choices accordingly. Words are pointless. Barrilla wants to make amends? Then start doing something.

· Red_Dragon_888 – I just know one thing, he hasn’t done enough so far and I so not see in the near future that he will do what it takes to get forgiveness.

· 2eo – Well said, Fagburn is in bed with the Heil anyway so what he thinks is less than worthless. Why Queerty lets Anti-Gay people troll is beyond me. If an apology is sincere there is always time to listen, empty apologies mean nothing, and get no respect, and the person making them loses credibility.

· jckfmsincty – No. Pasta is pasta. Other brands are just as good.

· BJ McFrisky – Two words: Dan Cathy. He never apologized for his personal beliefs, and his restaurant franchise is going as strong as ever. Boycotts are the childish knee-jerk reaction to someone/something that doesn’t perfectly fit the boycotter’s ideals. And let’s be honest: rarely do they have any affect on those being boycotted. To purchase what and where you desire is your right as an American, but an organized boycott movement is pointless. None of us can be forced into purchasing anything . . . er, except Obamacare, apparently. It sounds cliché, but ants are more attracted to honey than they are to vinegar. If we would only strive to prove that we’re mature enough to accept someone’s prejudices, rather than throwing a fit every time an individual claims to be a proponent of traditional marriage, then we’d probably be taken a lot more seriously.

· fredo777 – There is nothing childish about deciding not to spend your money in support of a figure/brand who blatantly ostracizes you. If you wish to keep giving them your money, feel free, but I will not. It really doesn’t matter to me if the company crumbles — re: your “not having any affect” comment — it’s more of a personal decision to shop elsewhere when situations like this arise. I have done so in the past + will continue to do so. As far as Dan Cathy goes, I will never eat at Chik-fil-A + a lot of the people who rushed to his restaurants after his comments were bigoted idiots who shared those views. If other people keep eating there, they’re free to do so. It became a huge issue because it sparked such a reaction that people were trending the Boycott Barilla (in so many words) topic on Twitter shortly after the news broke. But it seems that your only interest is being flippant/dismissive about the issue. So, I’ll let you get on with that. Guido Barilla isn’t just an executive of the company, he is the family brand. Besides which, the quote about keeping your mouth closed + letting people think you a fool vs. opening your mouth + removing all doubt comes to mind. When the figure is brazen enough to make these views public + those views also affect the way they cater (or don’t) to you/your community, it makes a difference. Just because someone offers an apology doesn’t mean that you have to accept it, especially if you question/doubt its sincerity/motives behind it. He stands to gain from said apology, due to the whole PR/image shitstorm his comments potentially created. For me, it’s either store brand or Barilla. Sorry, *Bertolli. I keep getting those brand names mixed up. lawls . I don’t fault organizers/activists/consumers for staging boycotts in response to matters like this, though. Even if they don’t force the company to its knees, it still brings more attention to what they did + helps to tarnish (however lasting the effects are) the brand’s public image. Which, hopefully, makes other companies more mindful in the future. Barilla probably won’t go under, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t help a competitor who is openly courting consumers like myself + not exclusionary in their policy/marketing. “…accept someone’s prejudices, rather than throwing a fit every time an individual claims to be a proponent of traditional marriage…” aka “Shut Up + take my money!”

· loua61 – Sad but true. I went to BJ’s this weekend to do my weekly shopping and Barilla was the only brand they sell. Then I went to my local supermarket and they were on sale 10 for $10. Sadly since I am on a budget I caved and purchased them. Plus we are only 4% of the population, will the boycott from the gay community really matter to his overall profits, sadly not. I’m surprised he even cared enough about our community to even attempt an apology.

· Derek Williams – If someone is ignorant about gay people because they have been raised in a certain way, then it may be they never knowingly meet anyone gay, and rely on stereotypes transmitted to them by family and friends, and the media. If they say something crass like Mr Barilla did, and then have this pointed out to them, learn they made a mistake, and then apologise, the smart thing to do is to graciously accept the apology and then observe future behaviour. Churlish “throwing down the handbag” by refusing to accept and apology, and distance traveled, only makes us look querulous, and in the long run it will not end well, for US. TYPO “and apology” should read “any apology”

· NeptunesTwin – Put a same sex couple in a commercial and we will accept the apology as being real!

· Kestrel – Of course boycotting won’t end a business empire but why should I give them even an extra cent? So far, Chik Fil A won’t get my meager chicken sandwich budget. But Hobby Lobby will never see my ass in there – that company’s owner is positively of the gays-must-die stripe. Sweet Frog (frozen yogurt place) actually promotes and hands out the F.R.O.G. Christian stickers! Will it topple their business? No. But why not do what we can? And don’t forget that not only gays will avoid them. A significant number of non-gay people (ok, my friends) will take note and spend their cash elsewhere. His apology becomes real when the thing he spoke out against – this time it’s a commercial featuring a same sex couple – is done. So, when are the auditions for the “Gay couple loves pasta!” ad? THEN, it’s real. Until then? Prince, San Giorgio, Ronzoni et al will get my pasta dollars, few as they may be. Sorry, *Bertolli. I keep getting those brand names mixed up. lawls . I don’t fault organizers/activists/consumers for staging boycotts in response to matters like this, though. Even if they don’t force the company to its knees, it still brings more attention to what they did + helps to tarnish (however lasting the effects are) the brand’s public image. Which, hopefully, makes other companies more mindful in the future. Barilla probably won’t go under, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t help a competitor who is openly courting consumers like myself + not exclusionary in their policy/marketing.

· inlandempire – Actions speak louder than words. When he does advertisement with a same sex couple, then I will believe his apology is sincere.

· marc sfe – Look in the mirror. It’s okay for the xtian talibangelicals to boycott Home Depot, Starbucks, JC Penney et al, but we can’t boycott Barilla? Take a good long hard look in the mirror buddy boy because you’re mirroring so big it’s not even funny. I forgave him the minute he said what he said but I don’t have to support his company by buying his product. Boycotts work both ways and you are like the pot calling the kettle black.

· the other Greg – It’s always amazing what new intellectual contortion the righties will get into. As exemplified here most often by BJ McFrisky, a new mantra is: Boycotts don’t even work, they’re just “feel-good actions.” If boycotts don’t even work, why did Barilla apologize at all? Usually, mantras of the modern right can be traced back to Ayn Rand, so it’s interesting that there’s an example of a successful boycott in her novel “The Fountainhead.” She writes disapprovingly, of course, of the successful boycott (of the fictional New York Banner newspaper), but it’s still successful so the plot element seems ironic in this context. Well, BJ may deny being at all influenced by Ayn Rand, but it’s never been obvious what his influences ARE except that he always takes the homophobe side!

· Elloreigh – “When a brand or personality exhibits homophobia, faces the backlash, and subsequently apologizes…do we simply forgive and forget?” No, and here’s why: We have no way to know whether the apology is sincere or just a case of desperately trying to remove the foot from their mouth in the interest of preserving profits or assets (as in one’s public image). And some actions are so heinous they deserve no forgiveness – like trying to oveturn an anti-discrimination law after losing such a case in court (Darden). If the company makes policy changes to better support their workers, good. They should do that because it’s the right thing to do – not under threat of a boycott. In the case of Barilla, his comments make clear that his approach is all about catering to one group through the exclusion of another. And once said, the damage is done. An apology won’t undo the unmeasurable damage those statements have done. We can tell people to grow a thicker skin all we like, but the reality is that every comment like this is just one more arrow slicing up our self-esteem, not to mention the aid it provides our real enemies. So no, I will not forgive and forget. And I will not be buying Barilla’s products. He chose up sides when he made his comments, and now he’ll have to live with that choice. Speaking for myself, it’s not about deluding myself into believing that my personal boycott will have any effect on Barilla. It’s about not being complicit in my own oppression.

· MK Ultra – Barilla made his feelings about us perfectly clear. We’re not real families, we shouldn’t be allowed around children and we can get married as long as we don’t bother normal, straight people. There’s lots of brands of pasta out there. And several of Barilla’s competitors have stepped forward with gay friendly ads. The choice is out there for each of us to make. Obviously Barilla doesn’t want to lose ours or our allies high disposable income as he has made several public apologies since the first incident. Words and PR releases are cheap. Start on that ad featuring a gay family, Barilla.

· EManhattan – When he apologizes for insulting gay families and starts running ads with a variety of families, including gay families, I will accept that apology. He has only apologized for “upsetting” people – he has not apologized for his anti-gay activities, and so far as we know he intends to continue them. He just won’t talk about them. This is not acceptable to me, so I am taking his advice, and will only eat other brands of food. Some Barilla-owned brands which don’t have “Barilla” in the name:

Alixir — alcoholic beverages,

Crisp’N Light — biscuits, cookies,

Cucina Mediterranea — Frozen main dishes,

Fantasie Del Sole — many food products,

First Fast — coffee, other food products

Italy’s #1 Pasta — pasta,

Macine — baking powder, salt,

Mulino Bianco — baked goods,

Natura Al Dente — many food products,

NutriPlus — pasta,

Orizzonti — coffee, other food products

Pan Di Stelle — biscuits, cookies,

Pavesi — Coffee,

Pavesini — baked goods,

Plus — sauces,

Restaurant Creations — pasta sauces,

Ringo — baking powder, biscuits, cookies,

Ritornelli — biscuits, cookies,

Share The Table — baking pans,

The Choice of Italy — pasta,

Voiello — coffee, other food products

Volare — semolina-based snack foods

Oct 1, 2013 at 1:18 pm · @Reply ·

· andy_d – There’s sometimes a difference between taking a political stand and actively promoting hate. Though I may not agree with a company’s political stand, I will boycott them if they actively promote hate against ANY group.

· zzQQzz – I still don’t eat at Darden Restaurants, Cracker Barrel, etc. I won’t ever eat Barilla again. My choice.

· seattle79 – I feel like Guido Barilla stated his true opinion when making his original statement. Obviously, that opinion has cost him and his company some customers. I have purchased Barilla products often but will now move on to other brands. Ciao!

· denvermtnbiker – A gaffe is when a politician or corporate official says what they really think. In terms of apologies, actions speak louder than words, and we haven’t seen any actions. So the clearest best is that his original words are still what he personally thinks, and will continue to motivate his company’s actions. Eat more Bertolli!

· dsp – Russia travel boycott, check. Stoli boycott, check. Chick-fil-a boycutt, check. Barilla boycutt, check. Able to spend my $$$ in places and business’ who respect all as equals, PRICELESS! Meant last two as boycott… 😉

· barkomatic – If he backs up his apology with action and his company releases and ad with gay couples then I’ll forgive and buy the pasta again. As long as some fool CEO doesn’t make a homophobic remark, then I actually don’t really care if they release gay ads. However, if they do then they basically need to sponsor a float at the gay pride parade in order for me to get over it.

· jwrappaport – Tricksy editors – you’ve loaded the question so that no fair-minded person could possibly say yes. With respect to this schmuck, there can be no serious question as to whether his apology is sincere or not: it, like most from public figures, are calculated moves to mitigate financial or other risk. As a general principle, if it’s more likely than not that a person’s remorse is sincere, then I think forgiveness is appropriate. Indeed, I think Hannah Arendt is correct: without forgiveness to break the cycle of retribution, civilization would be impossible.

· Changeagent – Well, perhaps in consideration of access to high grade quality pasta. Kitchens are important…

· Alan down in Florida – The initial question was phrased incorrectly. It should have read “after someone attacks you for an intrinsic part of your humanity do you stand up for that humanity or roll over like a B&D slave and ask for more?”

· LubbockGayMale – Forgive, maybe… Forget? NEVER!!!!!

· Elloreigh – I think it’s rather much to characterize my decision to act according to my conscience as “self-gratification” (creepy). But yes, I am speaking my conscience and acting accordingly by not buying Barilla products. I already stated that I don’t expect it to have any effect on Barilla’s bottom line. That’s not the goal, which would be futile (not to mention petty). Barilla is free to say whatever he wants, and to reap the consequences thereof. You can certainly say that my not buying their products is of no consequence given the size of the company, and you would probably be right. That doesn’t necessarily mean that individual consumers are the only part of this equation, though. Barilla doesn’t operate in isolation; it has suppliers, distributors, etc. Barilla’s statements could have an effect on those relationships, and that may be related to why he’s trying to repair his company’s reputation. But I can’t pretend to know his motivation – it’s just speculation. I won’t pretend to know what the effect (or non-effect) of this will be, either. And neither do you, so you can stop pretending otherwise.

· Hillers – Do I forgive? Eh… I have the feeling that in most cases, public figures are apologizing as a part of a damage control move as opposed to being motivated by a personal change in beliefs. It’s a business decision, not genuine contrition. In many cases, the damage has been done. So, forgive? Maybe. Forget? Never.

· billforsyth – He is entitled to his own opinions but as a businessman it seems very foolish for him to wilfully offend his customers and their friends ,families and the many others who find his views offensive.I as a gay man do not live in an isolated vacuum like many others I have family and friends who see an attack on me as an attack on them.

· markhfreeman – When they put out a new version of Pasta Penne that is bigger at one end (and hopefully uncircumcized) then I will consider it a real apology.

· jeffinsydney – Not a matter of forgiving; Forgiven! However it is a matter of forgetting, and I will not/cannot forget what was said and then his discussion of his very well thought out point. He has been motivated to retract his statement (now) out of greed, and for the ongoing health of his business. I feel no genuine feeling coming from this man of having mis-spoke. His statement was self centered, and as someone commented the first day of this debacle, what you say first is really how you truly feel. I say let him go and stick his Penne up his brass extruder. I will never purchase another Barilla product.

· Derek Williams – That would be a smart move, but it can’t be just trotted out the very next day. Ad campaigns take weeks to prepare. In the meantime, he has said he will meet with LGBT representatives (whoever they’ll be is anyone’s guess), so that’s a start. As for the so-called “power of the pink dollar”, we’re only 5-10% of the population. Any real power we have comes from straight allies. It’s important to be rational in dealing with this. Mr Barilla sincerely believed in what he said, and has been surprised that there was any disagreement with his opinion. He is now in a headspin of re-education which won’t happen overnight.

· Cyn – I’m all for a noticeable dip in their bottom line for a time, even if they hurry and whip out a gay pasta commercial.

· Polaro – Plenty of other brands to buy. I will remember the Barilla brand forever. And, like Chik-fil-A, I will never buy it again. Shelf space is very limited. I predict Barilla disappears in more than one major chain.

· Will L – His original comment was too heart-felt and sincere. Making a clumsy remark and apologizing for it immediately is one thing. That’s not what he did. He isn’t sorry he said it, he’s sorry we heard it. And further, if you truly want to make a statement AND help others, buy up as much Bertolli pasta as you can and deliver it to your local food closet. Let’s support the truly supportive companies.

· Eiswirth – Forgive and forget…that may be the right thing to do, ethically, but I’m a realist and I don’t believe, in his heart, he’s changed his opinion. Not that, over time, he can’t be more accepting, but I believe the pressure by his financial advisors was the reason he is now backpedaling. Money is too powerful an incentive to ignore. So it’s that, plus the fact he realized if he didn’t make some sort of apology he’d soon be the past(a) president of Barilla.

· boring – At a dollar a box, I will totally sell out to Barilla – in fact, it’s the only Pasta I have/had in the house which I purchased before the shit went down, and it’s what I’m having for dinner tonight. But I’m totally going to hateat this multigrain angelhair, you guys.

· TheMarc – Well, when a public figure says something offensive due to anger or confusion; I am more apt to forgive and forget. But in this specific example and others like it, I could truly care less about their apologies, outreach efforts, etc. This was a coherent statement. The same as others who have made coherent statements that have been ignorant or offensive to the LGBT community. They knew what they were saying. What they didn’t know was how people would react. And then when talks of boycotts and public thrashings by other public figures occurs; all of a sudden, they have a change of heart? Nope, they saw that the incident in question could cost them money, cause a PR nightmare, etc. So they profess to have an overnight change of heart to save face. So no, in those instances, I do not forgive and forget. But I will say anyone should be able to express their opinion freely. Period. In fact, I almost look at it as blessing when something like this happens. It lets me know where I should or should not spend my money. I only wish other CEOs would be so forthcoming and truthful.

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UPDATES:

Barilla, now plans to do just that. Following the outspoken remarks, Labour MEP Michael Cashman called for a boycott of the 130 year old brand, which is readily available in UK stores. The chairman has since held at least eight meeting with LGBT organizations in the US and Italy, and in a Facebook apology, he insisted that he has always treated everyone equally and fairly. “Italy is a very insular country, and in cities like Parma it’s even more so,” Luca Virginio told Reuters on behalf of Barilla, saying the firm had been shocked by the backlash over the comments. “The meetings have helped open our eyes and ears to the evolution taking place in the world outside Parma.” Despite not elaborating, he said: “We are already working on new advertising concept that will be much more open and much more inclusive.”

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The company will introduce a board which includes a US gay activist, in order to improve “diversity and equality in the company’s workforce and culture”, a statement on its website read. It will also participate in US-based Human Rights Campaign’s equality index. Seems that Barilla didn’t understand one think: The gay community maybe don’t want to have to do with any products owned by a homophobic owner. Mr. Barilla and his “perfect” family first have to change his personal view about the human rights and about the long social fights that LGBT communities around the globe made for their rights. What will be the next ? Gipsies, Jewish or black people…or only for Catholics ? Who knows. So during all this long  necessary time that Mr. Barilla need to reflect and learn, the LGBT community probably will prefer to buy other brands. This is normal! Will be very difficult ( maybe impossible ) to any advertising company to solve this situation. Of course Barilla will pay a lot of money for that…but sometimes errors are so big, that become IMPOSSIBLE to repair them.