Gay-rights advocates try to set Barilla pasta straight

Gay-bashing proves an unsuccessful branding strategy

Gay rights advocates — many of whom, incidentally, are not gay — are calling for a boycott of Barilla-brand pasta after company chairman Guido Barilla told an Italian radio show that, “We won’t include gays in our ads, because we like the traditional family. If gays don’t like it, they can always eat another brand of pasta. Everyone is free to do what they want, provided it doesn’t bother anyone else.”

John Aravosis of the AmericaBlog first broke this news to the English-speaking world when he provided Barilla’s remarks in their original Italian alongside an English translation.

After tasting the outrage inspired by his remarks, Barilla tried backtracking a bit, swearing he has “the greatest respect for gays” and that he only made his anti-gay comments because, “In the interview I simply wanted to highlight the central role of the woman in the family.”

Yet another sterling example of marketing to women! At least he’s not dyeing his pasta pink. Though if he really wants to focus on the central role of women in families, maybe he should try marketing his products specifically to lesbians: statistics show the average lesbian marriage contains twice as many women as marriages of the hetero variety.

When Barilla said that gays who don’t like his attitude can always eat another brand of pasta, it apparently didn’t occur to him that “gays” aren’t the only people who might find such attitudes disturbing, anymore than “black Americans” are the only people wont to take a dim view of the Ku Klux Klan.

One Washington-area consumer (incidentally, a heterosexual woman with kids, as traditional a family grouping as one can hope for) told us: “It's not just gays who are offended by anti-gay rhetoric. Many of us 'straights' are the loving parents of outstanding children who happen to be gay. In many cases, we knew our children were gay long before they did, and have done everything we could to make their life a little bit easier. There's a lot of pasta in the world and I'll be sure to eat anything but Barilla from now on.”

Take a Home Warranty Quiz. Get matched with an Authorized Partner.