Barilla in hot water after exec's anti-gay remarks
September 26th, 2013
05:00 PM ET
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Italian pasta maker Barilla is in hot water after making anti-gay remarks in an interview this week.

Guido Barilla, president of Barilla, said on an Italian radio program Wednesday that he wouldn't feature same-sex couples in his company's commercials because he prefers the "traditional" family.

Soon after, LGBT advocates began calling for a boycott of the company. Many flocked to Twitter using the hashtag #BoicottaBarilla.

"Sigh. I'd like my pasta without the side of homophobia, thanks," one Twitter user wrote.

Another directed a tweet at the company: "Dear @BarillaUS I will no longer be feeding my LGBT family your pasta. We are a @Bertolli family now!"

Read - Pasta maker Barilla under fire for anti-gay comments

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soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Ed

    Companies should not be putting out opinions on social issues. That is all.

    October 6, 2013 at 10:11 am |
  2. Brock Linahan

    I have no problem with them refusing to advertise using gay couples, etc. as long as they also avoid using Italian people.

    October 2, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
  3. BigdaddyUSA

    Wow, he likes a traditional family! So how do gay people think they got here, out of the butt of their lover?

    October 2, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  4. Gregg

    Saying you prefer a traditional family is not "anti-gay".

    October 1, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
  5. Duncan Donuts

    Lol! Why do I see Guido Barilla as not only the CEO of the Barillo company but also a marketing genius?
    This is why I say that. He has garnered tremendous exposure to the media for spending less than 1 penny!
    How? By appealing to the majority of the public who just happen to be heterosexual AND who really give a rat's patootie
    about the LGBT movement. I predict the majority, the heterosexuala, will make a bee line to the markets and specifically
    buy Barilla products! I'm not one to be homophobic and I've been using Barilla products for years because I think they're the best! I will continue to buy their products....and probably make up for those who boycott that company....
    there are more of us than there are of them.....Bravo Guido bravo...cento anni.

    September 30, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
  6. Riccardo Ray

    I'll start with this: I am totally "pro-gay", or however you want to put it. I am not homophobic, totally agree with gay marriage, and I think homosexuals should share all the rights a human being should expect, but up to one limit. Leaving religion completely out of the argument, and society as well, I don't think a gay couple, be it two men or two woman, should be able to adopt children. I am not putting into question their ability to raise and love a child. My point of view is rather simple, put two men, or two woman in a room for 1 day, 2 weeks, 3 months, whatever the amount of time, they will not be able to create a child. If nature willed it (i.e., the same sex to mate and create life), then so be it. But it's not the case. Since the dawn of creation, referring to the big bang, in order to create life, and later, to make a family, a mother and a father are needed..... Now, if you want to compare human beings to sea horses, be my guest. Now i'll bring up the social aspect... I was ridiculed in the States at an early age for having an Italian accent, now imagine what happens when kids find out you have gay parents... It is not socially acceptable. Now if the case were that over night, the amount of families world wide became a total of 30% gay couples with children, and the rest "normal" families, I might even see that work. But thats not how the world works. Gay right have come a long way in recent years, but as we all know there are countries on Earth that are going in the opposite direction.

    I am willing to have this discussion face to face with a gay couple and defend my position, and I am also willing to modify it if presented with a concrete argument. But right now, i'll stop at the banal of "if you cant make one, you cant have one", and the simple and obvious fact of the social difficulties it would imply, not on the gay parents, but on the child.

    September 30, 2013 at 6:57 am |
    • K-Swaggie

      "if you cant make one, you cant have one" applies to all infertile couples regardless of sex, sexual orientation, age, or anything else then. Some straight people are infertile, so I guess they shouldn't adopt under that principle.

      September 30, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • adibese

      So you'd rather children NOT be adopted and go to a good home?

      September 30, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
      • Brock Linahan

        Yes, that's exactly what he's saying. It's a ridiculous stance. Does it apply to having pets as well?

        October 2, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
  7. FrenchChef

    It's so sad that anti-gays have so little in their lives that they go looking to make trouble for LGBT Americans. Despite the constant wild claims of anti-gays, we know the majority of Americans support full equality for their family members, friends, neighbors and coworkers who are LGBT. It's a shame there's no way to report hate speech and other violations of the terms of service here.

    September 29, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
  8. Jim Canes

    Oh boy. Picture the smug smile on this guy's face when he wrote the headline.

    September 29, 2013 at 11:18 am |
  9. Carn E. Vore

    So saying he prefers a traditional family is considered "anti-gay"? There are way, WAY too many people roaming this earth with giant sticks inserted in their butts.

    September 28, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Canine

      Giant sticks? That is the stuff of their fantasies...

      September 29, 2013 at 4:22 am |
      • FrenchChef

        Isn't it just hilarious how anti-gays tell us they fantasize constantly about "gay male anal sex"? I couldn't make this up.

        Readers who would like to see the scientific evidence for why anti-gay posters are so obsessed with what they IMAGINE same gender couples do in private should Google "Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies."

        September 29, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
      • FrenchChef

        Readers who would like to see the scientific evidence for why anti-gay posters are so obsessed with what they IMAGINE same gender couples do in private should Google "Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies."

        September 29, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
  10. Jethro

    Barilla? Even when I was in college I knew that stuff was cr*p.

    September 28, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
  11. sorav4312

    Get your free coupon for Barilla Pasta here. Go long on Barilla Pasta!! Thank them for standing-up for what they believe.

    http://www.shopathome.com/discounts_and_coupons/default-brand.aspx?refer=1046854&src=SEPDSE&vendor=msn&Distribution=Search&keyword=coupon%20for%20barilla%20pasta&MatchType=e&AdId=2278938551&placement=placement

    September 27, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • FrenchChef

      Posting advertizing like that violates the rules of this forum. The states of Maine, Maryland and California are investigating anti-gay groups for heating also.

      September 29, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
  12. StBCN

    Facts says that Barilla has been fined of 5.2 million of Euros after being found guilty of having artificially driven the price of pasta (for the whole pasta market in Italy), a basic food for Mediterranean families, as bread, especially for poor families. Judgment passed through all levels of courts in Italy, and confirmed by the Antitrust institute and the Board of the Italian State in February 25th 2009. Isn't a bit double standard for Barilla act in a criminal way against families on one side and declare Barilla "loves family" on the other side?

    September 27, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
  13. Grumpygundy

    Im so sick & tired of political correctness. Look at Paula Deen what her free speech did just like Guido if the left doesnt like what you have to say they call you all sorts of names and try to boycott you and or your business. Thats so much BS its not funny. & now the Pope is being "kinder" to fags whats this world coming to? Homosexuality is a sin against God & man. Period!!

    September 27, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • A

      The Bible tells us not to judge one another and to love thy neighbor. Not love thy neighbor if they are straight. You may not agree with their lifestyle, but you also don't have to be hateful. Jesus himself was company to lepers, prostitutes, etc. Christians (which I am one myself) are the FIRST to spew hatred over things like this, when in reality we should be showing love. Hatred and bigotry was NEVER Jesus's MO and shouldn't be ours either.

      September 28, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Duncan Donuts

      You said it better than I could have said it. The moral standards are slowly deteriorating because being moral in today's society is being "Old Fashioned"! As long as that mind-set prevails political correctness will increase to the point where
      no one is "bad" anymore. All bad people are now sick people and "sick" replaces "bad" in the court system.
      As far as Guido Barilla's first amendment rights go....he must acquiesce to stay in business. Personally, from a business
      POV, I'd stay with the "conventional family" advertising theme and say nothing about a gay/lesbian theme. Barilla is an excellent product, hopefully it will withstand the bad press. Maybe there should be a hetero organization to counter the LGBT...If they can organize why can't the majority of the people do the same. On the same thought why not start a "Hetero Union" Day and have our own parade in NYC! Scheeeesh!

      September 28, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
      • serena77

        I don't know that much about the Italian Constitution, what a coincidence that their 1st amendment is the same as the U.S.

        September 29, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
      • FrenchChef

        You mean like the anti-gay "National Organization for Marriage"? The US Supreme Court refused to hear NOM's appeal of a Maine Supreme Court ruling, but NOM is still in violation of Maine campaign finance laws. Maine continues to investigate NOM for other criminal activities, as are Maryland and California.

        September 29, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • FrenchChef

      Sure, there are some really rotten people that say they are Christians and that tell shameful lies about LGBT Americans, but what about all the welcoming and affirming Christians–The REAL Christians? These denominations will marry same gender couples in 15 US States and the District of Columbia:

      Affirming Pentecostal Church International
      Alliance of Christian Churches
      The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists
      Conservative Judaism
      Disciples Of Christ
      The Episcopal Church
      Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
      Global Alliance of Affirming Apostolic Pentecostals
      Metropolitan Community Church
      Reconstructionist Judaism
      Reform Judaism
      Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
      Unitarian Universalist Church
      United Church of Christ

      September 29, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
  14. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    They can boycott all they want and it won't effect the company. In fact, it may actually boost sales as the intolerant side of the argument flock to them in support. Not sure what the ratio of staights:gays are but I assume the latter are quite outnumbered.

    September 27, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • Duncan Donuts

      Excellent point! I think conventionally minded people will seek and buy Barilla products to make their own
      "silent statement". I'll certainly continue using Barilla products.....Maybe Guido Barilla is a marketing genius!
      Just look at all the publicity he's gotten AND it's not ALL BAD! Lol.

      September 28, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
      • FrenchChef

        The Washington Post reported on 3-18-2013 that 58% of Americans support marriage equality. This majority of Americans will see this as bad publicity.

        September 29, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
    • serena77

      AFFECT NOT EFFECT

      September 29, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

        That's what you took away from this?

        September 30, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
  15. Doris

    I did not find Mr. Barilla's remark particularly offensive. My parents, quite up in age are not homophobic, but if they were tasked with setting up a commercial and asked the same question, I wouldn't be surprised if they had the same response. It's not like Mr. Barilla's response was filled with hatefulness or misinformation. Without understanding more about his specific views, it seems silly to try to judge him in any specific manner.

    It is quite evident from various blogs that there is still a need for people to learn more about homosexuality.

    =================================================

    Biology

    The following is from the article:

    Homosexuality ultimately a result of gene regulation, researchers find (12/11/2012 – LiveScience)

    [ The search for a "gay gene" may be off-target, new research finds. Another process called epigenetics that switches genes on and off may explain why homosexuality runs in families.

    Epigenetics are heritable changes caused by factors other than DNA. Instead of traits getting passed down through the genes, epigenetic change happens because of the way genes are regulated, or turned on and off.

    These genetic regulators may be the reason homosexuality persists in nature despite the fact that gay people are less likely to reproduce, suggests the new study published in the [Dec, 2012] journal The Quarterly Review of Biology.

    "These things have evolved because they're good for the parents, but they sometimes, not [with] high frequency, but sometimes carry over" into offspring, study researcher William Rice, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told LiveScience. In a male fetus, Rice and his colleagues write, an epigenetic change that benefited the mother may lead to "feminization" of sexual preference — homo- or bisexuality. The same may be true for epigenetic changes passed down by dad to a female fetus. (The terms feminization and masculinization of sexual preference refer to sexual orientation only — not to physical or personality traits of the offspring.)

    The findings add to past research suggesting gay men haven't died out, because female relatives of gay men tend to have more children on average than other females. The study researchers specifically found that two genes passed on through the maternal line could produce this effect.

    Hormones, epigenetics and orientation

    Rice and his colleagues focused on epi-marks, which are molecular changes that act like temporary "switches" to turn genes on and off. If a gene is a blueprint, the epi-mark is the construction foreman who makes sure the product gets built. An epi-mark also determines when, where and how much a gene is expressed, according to the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis.

    These molecular switches are usually erased very early in the developmental process, but they can be passed down from generation to generation, too, Rice said.

    Some epi-marks are particularly important during fetal development, when they promote normal physical development in the sexes despite natural variations in testosterone during pregnancy. Researchers know that fetal exposure to too much testosterone can masculinize the genitals, brain or behavior of a genetically female fetus. Likewise, too little testosterone can make a genetically male fetus more feminized.

    But here's the catch: There's lots of overlap between the levels of testosterone male and female fetuses get exposed to. That means there must be another side to the story, Rice and his colleagues wrote.

    That side appears to be epigenetics, Rice said.

    "Early in development, we think these epi-marks are laid down so that girl fetuses will be relatively insensitive to testosterone and male fetuses will be relatively sensitive to testosterone," Rice said.

    Biological behavior

    Thus, if an epi-mark that kept a mother from getting exposed to high testosterone in development gets passed on to her son — the opposite sex — it could desensitize him to testosterone, contributing to his sexual preference for men. Similarly, if a male-specific epi-mark from dad gets passed to a daughter, it could "masculinize" her sexual preference, making her more interested in women.

    These findings could explain why twin studies show that homosexuality runs in families, but no "gay gene" can be found, Rice said. In identical twins, there's about a 20 percent chance that if one twin is gay, the other will be too. If genetic change were responsible for homosexuality, you'd expect a much higher match, Rice said. Epigenetics, however, can explain the heritability without the need for a specific genetic change.

    The hypothesis could be tested by examining epigenetic marks in parents of kids with gay versus straight offspring, Rice said. There are, of course, concerns that this knowledge could be used by parents who want to avoid gay offspring, Rice said, but that concern already exists around certain hormonal conditions in utero, which are known to contribute to an increased chance of offspring being lesbians.

    "That cat's already out of the bag," Rice said. He added that an understanding of the biological underpinnings of homosexuality could help emphasize that same-sex behavior is not "unnatural."

    "In fact, it's a major part of the natural world," Rice said. Fourteen percent of Western gulls raise chicks in female-female pairs, he pointed out. And 8 percent of male sheep show zero interest in fertile ewes, but get sexually excited by other rams. ]

    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    Psychology

    The American Psychological Association states "there are probably many reasons for a person's sexual orientation and the reasons may be different for different people", and says most people's sexual orientation is determined at an early age. Research into how sexual orientation in males may be determined by genetic or other prenatal factors plays a role in political and social debates about homosexuality, and also raises concerns about genetic profiling and prenatal testing."

    Professor Michael King states: "The conclusion reached by scientists who have investigated the origins and stability of sexual orientation is that it is a human characteristic that is formed early in life, and is resistant to change. Scientific evidence on the origins of homosexuality is considered relevant to theological and social debate because it undermines suggestions that sexual orientation is a choice."

    The Royal College of Psychiatrists stated in 2007:

    "Despite almost a century of psychoanalytic and psychological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person's fundamental heterosexual or homosexual orientation. It would appear that sexual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of genetic factors and the early uterine environment. Sexual orientation is therefore not a choice."

    September 27, 2013 at 10:52 am |
  16. Joseph L. Moul

    I'm going to buy more Barilla Pasta. It's about time more people stand up for what's right, and I hope they don't back down from their stand, due to the social outcry for immorality. Keep it up Barilla and CNN....You need to start reporting on some real news.

    September 27, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • Rob

      exactly!!

      September 27, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • Sly

      I'm sure a lot of tolerant people have some for sale ... you might want to check with them.

      September 28, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  17. Costa

    I'm Italian and I admit that Barilla pasta is a very good quality pasta and I won't change it for any other brand only because Mr Barilla expressed his personal opinion about not having gays on his commercial. Quality is quality. Mr Barilla keep up with the good work!!

    September 27, 2013 at 10:06 am |
  18. kemikal

    Really?! I can't beliee this is even a topic. The LGBT....LMNOPXYZ, or whatever you call yourselves now, have truly lost it. You're lashing out because this owner said he "Will Not" use same-sex couples in commercials representing his brand. That's his right! I would't use them in a commercial to represent a family brand either; everyone does not share the same views as the LGBT Clan when it comes to family. It's that simple. You want everyone to ACCEPT your right to the express your lifestyle; well, learn to deal with other people's opinions.

    September 27, 2013 at 10:04 am |
  19. Giulio Tomei

    I am now a new fan of Barrilla...now and forever!

    September 27, 2013 at 9:59 am |
  20. TheFineColumbian

    OMG! Get over it! I am so sick of everybody having to be so freaking careful at what they say. This man is Italian and comes from a country where Catholicism has a monopoly. He has a right to believe in a traditional family, just as gays have a right to believe that they can do no wrong. Opening up a box and having some right now just out of spite. Please try reporting some real news. Shouldn't we really be worried about whether our government, that is so ineffective, is about to shut down! Focus on REAL issues instead of this B.S.

    September 27, 2013 at 9:56 am |
  21. JC

    Congrats Guido. Stand up for what you believe in. I will ONLY buy Barilla going forward because its pasta not a social commentary.

    Gay Community? Shut up, just shut up. Why is the only way you seem to be capable of getting what you feel is your "right" is by denying the freedom of choice and speech to others?

    Chik-fil-a all over again.

    Just stop

    September 27, 2013 at 8:18 am |
    • TheFineColumbian

      Rock on, JC. Agree completely. Sick of having my rights violated to accommodate the feeling of others. Sheesh!

      September 27, 2013 at 9:57 am |
      • Kat Kinsman

        I'd be really, really interested to know when your rights have ever actively been suppressed or violated.

        September 27, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  22. AleeD®

    Can't you just feel the love? <3

    September 27, 2013 at 7:27 am |
    • RC

      Yeah, tolerance at its finest.

      September 27, 2013 at 10:49 am |
  23. Alby

    Seems the far right doesn't like it when educated people call them on their ignorance, which is also free speech. As to the abortion comment, if you don't like them, don't get one.

    September 26, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
  24. Really?

    Seems that the far left is a huge fan of free speech. Provided you agree with them. Otherwise, you WILL be branded as "hating" and a "bigot"...

    The left loves choice. As long as you use it to murder a baby.

    September 26, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      People have the right to say whatever they want. People also have the right to spend their money on brands that don't actively denigrate them and the people they love.

      September 27, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
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