Guido Barilla has filmed a video apology (see embed above) after his remarks about gay families created an international controversy and a possible boycott of his company’s products.
On Italian radio Wednesday evening, Barilla said that only traditional families would appear in his pasta commercials. Said the Chairman, “For us the concept of the sacred family remains one of the basic values of the company. I would not do it but not out of a lack of respect for homosexuals who have the right to do what they want without bothering others … [but] I don’t see things like they do and I think the family that we speak to is a classic family.”
When questioned about the reaction his remarks would have on potential customers, he said: “Well, if they like our pasta and our message they will eat it; if they don’t like it and they don’t like what we say they will … eat another.”
Barilla subsequently issued a statement of apology for offending anyone and that also noted that he supports gay marriage. An apology was also posted on the Barilla US Facebook page.
The controversy apparently did not abate, and perhaps owing to a firestorm of criticism on social media, a video apology was released on Facebook and YouTube.
In the video apology, Guido Barilla explains that “Yesterday I apologized for offending many people around the world. Today I am repeating that apology. Through my entire life, I’ve always respected every person that I’ve met including gays and their families, without any distinction. I’ve never discriminated against anyone. I have heard the countless reactions around the world to my words, which have depressed and saddened me. It is clear that I have a lot to learn about the lively debate concerning the evolution of the family. In the coming weeks, I pledge to meet representatives of the groups that best represent the evolution of the family, including those who have been offended by my words.”
Guido Barilla controls the fourth-generation family headquartered in Parma, Italy, with his two brothers.