If you were hoping Barilla Pasta, one of the most popular Italian food brands in the world, was ever going to feature a gay couple in one of their sexy commercials, you should relinquish that dream. On Wednesday, the pasta company's chairman, Guido Barilla, said it was never going to happen and that if gay people don't like it they "can always go eat someone else’s pasta."
We aren't fluent in anti-gay Italian, but America Blog's John Aravosis had the translation:
“Non faremo pubblicità con omosessuali, perché a noi piace la famiglia tradizionale. Se i gay non sono d’accordo, possono sempre mangiare la pasta di un’altra marca. Tutti sono liberi di fare ciò che vogliono purché non infastidiscano gli altri”.
"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."
Pasta commercials aren't really the first battlefield you think of when it comes to gay rights. Barilla's current ads just feature good-looking couples eating spaghetti. But, apparently, Barilla sees his commercials as a way to promote the "traditional family." Aravosis explains that Mr. Barilla has walked back his comments with this non-apology apology:
"With reference to statements made yesterday, I apologize if my words have generated controversy or misunderstanding, or if they have hurt the sensibilities of some people. In the interview I simply wanted to highlight the central role of the woman in the family."
The central role of the women in some of Barilla's commercials (stateside) are just people who seduce good-looking men with pasta. Pasta seduction fables if you will:
Or seducing the good-looking Italian man with pasta in front of your kids:
And there's this family-centric commercial (in Italian) which shows, what we think Mr. Barilla is talking about—the central role of women is to feed your family with Barilla pasta:
Exactly how many gay people eat Barilla or are conscious of the messages their commercials contain is hard to put into numbers (there is no prominent LGBT 4 Barilla Activist group in the U.S.) However, The Independent reports that Barilla has a quarter of the pasta share in America.
Gay rights activists have already prepped a boycott. "This is another example of Italian homophobia," an Italian gay rights activist told The Independent. "I’m joining the boycott of Barilla and I hope other parliamentarians do the same."
Update: 6:50 p.m.: Barilla is sorry about all this:
While we cannot undo words that have been said, we can apologize. To all of those that we have hurt or offended, we are deeply sorry.— Barilla US (@BarillaUS) September 26, 2013