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Barilla says no to gay couples in advertising

«I would not do a commercial with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect toward homosexuals – who have the right to do whatever they want without disturbing others – but because I don't agree with them and I think we want to talk to traditional families», said chairman Guido Barilla, who later apologized

Guido Barilla, chairman of Italian and European food company Barilla, told wednesday that gay couples will not appear in his company’s advertising. Interviewed during the radio show “La Zanzara”, Mr. Barilla spoke about the role of women and gays in advertising. Asked about the statements of Laura Boldrini, speaker of the Italian House of Deputies, who criticized stereotypes of women as “mother who serves at the table”, Barilla said:

«Advertising is a very serious matter and should be handled by people who understand it. Speaker Boldrini doesn’t understand the role of women in advertising: women as mothers, grandmothers, lovers, housewives, caregivers. All of this actions and activities ennoble their role. Women are extremely important for advertising, not only in Italy. In all countries the woman is extremely used in advertising»

«I think it’s pretty pathetic that the speaker of the House lowers herself talking about advertising, which she doesn’t have the skills to understand. Communication is a fundamental stimulus for commerce: everyone makes it as he sees fit, in accordance with the rules. There are authorities that control advertisings: if someone fails, he receive a reprimand and a fine»

Asked about why his company – which also controls the “Mulino Bianco” brand with its famous “perfect family” communication – does not do commercials with gay families, Guido Barilla, who is 55, said:

«We have a slightly different culture. For us, the “sacral family” remains one of the company’s core values. Our family is a traditional family. If gays like our pasta and our advertisings, they will eat our pasta; if they don’t like that, they will eat someone else’s pasta. You can’t always please everyone not to displease anyone. I would not do a commercial with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect toward homosexuals – who have the right to do whatever they want without disturbing others – but because I don’t agree with them and I think we want to talk to traditional families. The women are crucial in this».

«I respect everyone, they can do what they want without disturbing others. You have the right to do whatever you want in your house without disturbing those around you, claiming more or less legitimate rights. I respect same-sex marriage because that concerns people who want to contract marriage, but I absolutely don’t respect adoptions in gay families, because that concerns a person who is not the people who decide»

Barilla was founded in 1877 by Pietro Barilla, Guido Barilla’s great-grandfather. It controls Barilla (multinational pasta maker), Mulino Bianco, Pavesi, Voiello, Alixir and Academia Barilla (Italy), Wasabröd (Sweden), Misko (Greece), Filiz (Turkey), Yemina and Vesta (Mexico) trademarks.

Update: Mr. Barilla apologized Thursday writing in the Barilla Twitter account:

I apologize for hurting many people’s sensibility. I have the deeper respect for everybody without distinctions

(photo Alessandro Paris/Lapresse)