Barilla-US kinda apologizes for CEO’s anti-gay, sexist remarks amid worldwide PR disaster

Barilla’s US subsidiary just apologized, kinda, via its Facebook page for the deeply offensive anti-gay, and sexist, remarks that its CEO, Guido Barilla, made yesterday to an Italian radio station.

But Facebook users aren’t buying the apology, or the pasta. The public response to the apology was blistering and devastating.

Here’s one Facebook user’s response to the apologies:


[UPDATE: Barilla has issued its 4th apology, this time via a video from CEO Guido Barilla.]

I’d reported this morning that CEO Barilla had said that they won’t put gay people in their advertising because Barilla is a company that likes the traditional family.  The CEO also added that Barilla thinks women are fundamentally important to the family – a somewhat odd statement, since lesbian couples have women, two in fact.  And he threw in the fact that while he’s favorable to gay marriage, he’s opposed to gay adoption.  But he still doesn’t want gays in his ads, and if gays don’t like it, they can buy another brand of pasta, Barilla threw in for good measure.

“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.”

Well, the reaction online was scathing, to put it lightly.

Nearly 300,000 people have read our story today, with another 62,000 “liking” it on Facebook.  Barilla was no luckier on Twitter, where people all day have been excoriating the company for its open homophobia, including former “West Wing” star Joshua Malina:


Earlier today, Barilla CEO Barilla issued an apology that didn’t help matters much.  Well, actually they issued a few.  First there was this one, that came off rather sexist:

“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.”

Then, there was this one on Barilla’s Italian Facebook page:

barilla-italy-apology Translation:

With reference to my statement ​​yesterday, I apologize if my words have generated controversy or misunderstanding, and if they have offended the sensibilities of some people.

For clarity, I wish to point out that I have the deepest respect for all persons, without distinction of any kind.

I have the utmost respect for homosexuals and for the freedom of expression of everyone.

I also said and I repeat that I respect marriages between people of the same sex.

Barilla in its advertising has always chosen to represent the family because this is the symbol of hospitality and affection for everyone.

Yeah, he was doing pretty well until that last part (well, that whole “I’m sorry if you were offended thing” wasn’t the best beginning). But the last part, where Mr. Barilla reconfirms the fact that gay families aren’t “families” is rather offensive.  (Barilla specifically said that they only put “families” in their ads, so that’s why they don’t include gays – because, you know, gay families aren’t “families.”)

The comments on the page, in Italian, are 50-50 in terms of support and opposition to Barilla.  Marco’s comment is a good example of people who weren’t buying the apology:


Translation: “A single and childless heterosexual man can’t cook Barilla pasta by himself because Barilla pasta is genetically modified to only cook al dente in the presence of a heterosexual woman (but only if they are good women — bad women have to eat pasta from the discount store).”

Ah, I love Italians.

Well. Barilla US just issued its own apology that seems a tad better than the CEO’s, but it still don’t really resolve the problem – namely, that Barilla has a de facto ban on including gays in its advertising because the CEO doesn’t think gay families are real families, per his own “apology.”  Here’s the newest Barilla apology on the US subsidiary’s Facebook page:


Not a lot of mention of the gay in that apology.  If you weren’t aware of what was going on, you wouldn’t even what it was talking about.  Having said that, it’s a pretty heartfelt apology, and doesn’t pull the “we’re sorry if you were offended” trope.  But, what is Barilla doing to fix the problem?  Does the ban on gays in advertising still stand?  Does Barilla still think gay families aren’t real families?  No idea.  The “apology” doesn’t say a thing about that.

And people on Facebook were seriously not buying it.  Here are the initial replies to the apology – there are many more.  Only a handful support Barilla.

barilla-gay-4 barilla-gay-3 barillia-gay-2

Yeah, this one isn’t going away any time soon.

#boicottabarilla #boycottbarilla

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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