Barilla to Gays: You’re Not Family. Social Media Outrage Ensues

The president of Italian pasta maker Barilla, Guido Barilla, has created quite a fuss in Italy by comments made about gay families during an interview on an Italian business radio talk show, The Mosquito. In discussing who is an acceptable face for Barilla pasta ads, he said

I would never run an ad with a gay family, not for lack of respect but because I don’t think like them, ours is a traditional family where the woman has a fundamental role.

Presumably he means in the kitchen. Later today he backtracked, saying:

Referring to my statement yesterday on the program “The Mosquito”, I apologize if my words generated misunderstanding or were considered polemical or hurt someone’s feelings. In the interview I just wanted to simply underline the centrality of a woman’s place in the family.

It seems unlikely this statement will be enough to demonstrate that he understands why many people would be upset at what appears to be 1950s thinking. They are certainly using social media to be heard and to ask for a boycott of Barilla products. For those who read Italia, La Repubblica has more details.

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About Sean Carlos

Sean Carlos is a digital marketing consultant & teacher, assisting companies with their Search (SEO + SEA = SEM), Social Media & Digital Media Analytics strategies. Sean first worked with text indexing in 1990 in a project for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Since then he worked for Hewlett-Packard Consulting and later as IT Manager of a real estate website before founding Antezeta in 2006. Sean is an official instructor of the Digital Analytics Association and collaborates with the Bocconi University. He is Chairman of the SMX Search and Social Media Conference, 12 & 13 November in Milan. He is also a co-author of the Treccani encyclopedic dictionary of computer science, ICT & digital media. Born in Providence, RI, USA, Sean received Honors in Physics from Bates College, Maine. He speaks English, Italian and German.