September 27, 2013
Guido Barilla, chairman of the world’s leading pasta manufacturer, prompted calls for a consumer boycott on Thursday after telling Italian radio his company would never use a gay family in its advertising.
“I would never do (a commercial) with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect but because we don’t agree with them. Ours is a classic family where the woman plays a fundamental role,” Barilla, 55, said in an interview with Radio 24 on Wednesday.
Barilla – one of the best known pasta brands around the world – is one of Italy’s biggest advertisers, and for many years has used the image of a happy family living in an idealized version of the Italian countryside, with the slogan: “Where there’s Barilla, there’s home”.
In the interview, Barilla said he opposed adoption by gay parents, but was in favor of allowing gay marriage, which is not legal in Italy. His comment about advertising was in response to a direct question about whether he would ever feature a gay family in his company’s commercials.
If gays “like our pasta and our advertising, they’ll eat our pasta, if they don’t like it then they will not eat it and they will eat another brand,” he said.