Is it time to stick a fork in Barilla? Its chairman, Guido Barilla, said on Italian radio, "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."
Barilla also said, "I have no respect for adoption by gay families because this concerns a person who is not able to choose," insisting that women play a "central role" in the family.
Matthew Breen, editor in chief of The Advocate, said, "Guido Barilla’s remarks are not only an insult to LGBT consumers, but they’re bad business. The backlash, and calls for boycotts of the company’s products by LGBT rights groups and even Italian politicians, is only to be expected. Barilla was blatant in his view that gay and lesbian couples, and their children, cannot constitute a family worth depicting in advertising, and that same-sex couples are unsuitable as parents.
"His rejection of adoption by gay parents as suitable families contravenes the research that shows that children of gay and lesbians couples make great parents who raise healthy, well-adjusted children," Breen continued. "And his ignorance of the gay and lesbian market sector is simply bad business."
The LGBT market is about $790 billion in the U.S. this year; the Advocate notes Barilla's 2010 revenue was $3.9 billion.
Barilla subsequently issued a classic non-apology apology, "I’m sorry if my comments on La Zanzara have created misunderstanding or polemic, or if I’ve offended anyone. In the interview I only wanted to underline the central role of the woman in the family."