Barilla pasta is ready to give Chick-fil-A a run for its money as the world’s most anti-gay food company, after its Italian president announced that they would not feature a same-sex marriage in their advertisements and would be just fine with gay people eating a different brand.
Guido Barilla, the chairman of Barilla Pasta, shared his opinion of homosexuality in an Italian radio interview.
According to Reuters, Barilla said:
I would never do (a commercial) with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect but because we don't agree with them.
(If gay people) 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.
The statement received swift rebuke from Italian gay rights groups and the furor quickly spread internationally. With Barilla being one of the world's largest pasta companies, it was bound to stir up controversy.
In Canada, more customers joined calls for a company boycott.
On the company's Canadian Facebook page, scores of upset customers began posting comments calling for an apology or announcing they would take Barilla’s suggestion to heart.
"As a heterosexual man with a family, I have been raised and have taught my children that all people are created equal and that their sexual preference is just that, theirs," wrote Dan Fiorito.
"I've been a long time supporter and user of Barilla Pasta, however I will stand with gay family and friends and boycott your brand!
"Shame on you for making such an outlandish statement."
Added Adriana Linden, "I cannot buy from a company that publicly trashes a portion of humanity."
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Barilla isn't the first food tycoon to wade into the same-sex marriage debate.
The president of American fast-food chain Chick-fil-A has made headlines for publicly opposing gay marriage. Last year, Dan Cathy said he was “guilty as charged” for vocally opposing same-sex marriage.
As businessmen, Barilla and Cathy are allowed to do anything they want with their companies. They can refuse to target homosexual families in advertising, oppose having them as customers and are free to design business strategies that ignore homosexuals and those who desire equality and oppose bigotry in their choice of pasta and chicken sandwiches.
For Cathy and Chick-fil-A, the stance has led to some troubles. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said the restaurant wasn't welcome in his city and the Jim Henson Company stopped doing business with the company.
It seems Barilla is also fine with his company taking a few lumps for his stance on traditional marriage. At least, he'd better be.
As Ephraim Dickstein wrote on the company's Facebook page: "Send us a note when your company learns that hate isn't a value that Canadians appreciate."
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