Barilla's Anti-Gay Controversy

Barilla's Anti-Gay Controversy

Updated Sep 27, 2013 at 08:16PM EDT by amanda b..

Added Sep 27, 2013 at 05:33PM EDT by amanda b..

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Background

On September 26th, 2013, Guido Barilla, the chairman of the Italian food company Barilla Group, stated in an interview on the radio show La Zanzara[1] that the company would not consider using gay couples in advertisements for their pasta brand because he does not agree with their lifestyles. He went on to emphasize the importance of what he considers a traditional family, stating “If gays like our pasta and our advertising, they will eat our pasta; if they don’t like that, they will eat someone else’s pasta.”



Notable Developments

News Media Coverage

On September 26th, news of Barilla’s remarks appeared on dozens of news blogs including the Los Angeles Times[8], Mediaite[9], The Independent[10], Buzzfeed[11], The Huffington Post[12] and CNN Money[13], among others. Snopes[3] also verified the statement that day.

Online Reaction

On September 26th, “Barilla” was used on Twitter 47,826 times according to Topsy Analytics[14], up 2910% from the previous day’s 1,623 mentions. Meanwhile on Reddit[15], approximately 120 posts addressing Barilla’s remark were submitted and Buzzfeed[16] featured a compilation of heated responses from unhappy pasta eaters on social networking sites, including photographs of Barilla pasta being discarded (shown below, left) or destroyed (shown below, center) and photoshopped ads for other pasta brands (shown below, right). Additionally, the hashtags #BoycottBarilla[17][18] and #BoicottBarilla[19] began to appear throughout Twitter and Tumblr, calling for LGBTQsupporters to stop buying the brand.



Company’s Apology

Within hours after the interview, Guido Barilla issued a statement on the company’s Facebook page[5] apologizing for any misunderstanding his remarks has caused. He also asserted that he has “the deepest respect” for people of all kinds without distinction, including all same-sex couples, and that the company will continue to represent “the family” in its advertising. In another statement, Barillo tried to clarify what he meant by saying that he “simply wished to underline the central role the woman plays within the family.”[6] Barilla US’s Facebook page also issued a separate apology[7] (shown below), with no specific mention of the chairman’s remarks.


Competitors’ Response

On September 27th, pasta brands Buitoni[20] (shown below, left) and Bertolli[21] (shown below, right) took advantage of Barilla’s gaffe by sharing pro-LGBTQ messages on their official Facebook accounts. That day, these positive messages were shared on a number of advertising sites and internet culture blogs including AdWeek[4], Consumerist[22], Business Insider[23], PR Newser[24] and the Huffington Post.[25]



Search Interest



External References

[1]la Repubblica – “No a famiglie gay negli spot” Bufera sul web contro Barilla (Italian)

[2]Huffington Post – Barilla Chairman Stands By Anti-Gay Ad Policy, Citing Family Values

[3]Snopes.com – Barilla Pasta

[4]AdWeek – Bertolli Makes the Most of Barilla Chairman’s Anti-Gay Comments

[5]Facebook – Barilla: Statement

[6]ABC News – Gay Rights Advocates Boycott Barilla After President of Pasta Maker’s Remarks

[7]Facebook – Barilla US: Statement

[8]Los Angeles Times – Guido Barilla says pasta maker will never show gay families in ads

[9]Mediaite – Barilla Chairman: Gays ‘Can Eat Another Brand of Pasta’

[10]The Independent – ‘I would never use homosexual couples in my adverts’: Barilla pasta boss’s anti-gay comments spark boycott call

[11]Buzzfeed – Barilla Pasta Chairman Says No Gays Allowed In Company’s Ads

[12]The Huffington Post – Barilla Pasta Won’t Feature Gay Families In Ads, Says Critics Can ‘Eat Another Brand Of Pasta’

[13]CNN Money – Pasta maker Barilla under fire for anti-gay comments

[14]Topsy Analytics – Twitter Mentions for “Barilla”

[15]Reddit – Search Results for Barilla (this week)

[16]Buzzfeed – The Internet Responds To Barilla Pasta Chairman’s Anti-Gay Remarks

[17]Twitter – Tweet Results for #boycottbarilla

[18]Tumblr – Posts Tagged #boycott barilla

[19]Twitter – Tweet Results for #BoicottBarilla

[20]Facebook – Buitoni USA: #PastaForAll

[21]Facebook – Bertolli: Pasta und Liebe für alle!

[22]Consumerist – Bertolli Takes Advantage Of Barilla’s PR Problems, Says Their Pasta Is For Everyone

[23]Business Insider – The Pasta Business Is In A State Of Civil War Over Gay Rights

[24]PR Newser – Bertolli Jumps on Barilla’s PR Fail

[25]Huffington Post – Buitoni Pasta Responds To Barilla’s Anti-Gay Comments With LGBT Community Support (PHOTO)

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