Think Before You Speak

Nick Dimico

Companies all over the world have been caught in the scandal of speaking before thinking. This, of course, is not anything new, but one company has made major headlines over past weeks due to the anti-gay remarks made by its president.

Barilla, the world’s largest pasta company, had its President, Guido Barilla, speak on an Italian radio show on September 25th. When the radio host asked why the company does not feature gay families in its ads, Barilla gave the following statement, per a Huffington Post translation of the interview.:

We have a slightly different culture…For us, the ‘sacral family’ remains one of the company’s core values. Our family is a traditional family. If gays like our pasta and our advertisings,  they will eat our pasta; if they don’t like that, they will eat someone else’s pasta. You can’t always please everyone not to displease anyone. I would not do a commercial with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect toward homosexuals – who have the right to do whatever they want without disturbing others – but because I don’t agree with them, and I think we want to talk to traditional families.

Personally, I find it quite amusing when companies such as Barilla make comments like this, because you would think that with how big the company is in the industry, that they would have the decency to keep their anti-gay opinions to themselves. Instead they make remarks like this and try to cover them up with an apology the next day. Sorry Barilla, it’s not going to work.

In today’s society, making remarks like this will cost you. According to ABC News, Barilla brings in a half billion dollars a year in U.S. sales alone, which now could be affected.

Within minutes of the comments hitting the internet universe, people all over the world became angered through social media.

According to Daily Finance, Barilla trended on Twitter for perhaps the first time ever, and it appears a boycott is now well under way. The executive quickly issued a clarification of his comments, writing on the Barilla corporate website that he had “utmost respect” for gay people and their marriages and that he apologized if [his] words have generated controversy or misunderstanding, or if they hurt someone’s sensitivity.”

Sensitivity? Misunderstanding? I think we heard you loud and clear Mr. Barilla. You find that the LGBT community sits on a different level then you do. It’s OK; I think we got your point.

“It’s the kind of non-apology apology with the words “sorry you were offended” that’s unlikely to cure anyone’s damaged “sensitivity.”

Model Christine Teigan, wife of singer John Legend tweeted; “Yikes. Bye, bye, me using Barilla.”

After realizing the way in which Barilla’s remarks affected the public, Barilla met with the Italian LGBT associations on October 7th in Bologna, northern Italy to simmer the boycott from its products and company. Barilla is trying to turn down the heat by proposing pro-gay policies for the future.

Although Barilla said they won’t feature gay families in there advertising, many other pasta companies will according to the Huffington Post. Below are just a few of the companies that have been open to the LGBT community.

Buitoni Pasta:


Bertolli Pasta:


Garofalo Pasta:


According to the company’s website Guido Barilla issued a formal statement of apology.

At Barilla, we care about everyone, regardless of race, religion, belief, gender or sexual orientation. Our mission is to help people – every single person – live better, by bringing well-being and the joy of eating into their everyday lives. 

We value and respect a family, that includes everyone. As stated in the Barilla lighthouse – our strategy document – we promote diversity. Diversity of all kinds is a clear objective that the company has put forward. 

Barilla recognizes cultural, gender and skills diversity as an essential value for the company’s well-being. Integrity, inclusion, social and environmental responsibility are the values in which Barilla reflects itself, as results of a strong and widely recognized identity. 

Barilla firmly believes that, in order to qualify its business activities as ethical, it shall operate in respecting and safeguarding human rights, the regenerative capabilities of the Planet and the welfare of communities, while promoting a sustainable human development.

Barilla’s goal goes beyond bringing high-quality food products that are good for people. We also take care of our planet, by focusing on growing the business of those food products that have a low environmental impact. 

We will take advantage of the recent incident to learn and to promote even harder the diversity path that Barilla has undertaken.

To all our friends, family, employees and partners that we have hurt or offended, we are deeply sorry.

-Guido Barilla

It’s shocking the way the company can go out and speak to the media and not be able to predict the consequences that come with their actions, especially by ‘coming out’ and stating an apology that you are wanting to propose pro-gay policies when we already heard that you don’t believe that the LGBT community has the same human rights as you do. Please save your fake apologizes for someone else, and next time, think before you speak.


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