U.S. rights groups urge boycott of Barilla pasta after anti-gay remarks

Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:09pm EDT
 
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By Victoria Cavaliere

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. and international gay rights supporters called on Friday for a boycott of Italian pasta maker Barilla, whose chairman said he would never feature a gay family in its advertising.

The comments sparked a firestorm of protest on social media and resulted in online petitions in English, German and Italian, including one by Italian playwright and Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo.

A MoveOn.org petition started by Beth Allen, a Takoma Park, Maryland, mother of two and a lesbian, garnered 85,000 signatures by Friday evening.

"Guido Barilla made it clear how he felt about families like mine by saying that he'd never show gay families in advertisements for Barilla," Allen said in her petition.

"He said that gays could eat another pasta if they didn't like his message. I'm taking him up on that and so should you," she said.

Chairman Guido Barilla, 55, sparked the controversy with comments on Wednesday to an Italian radio station.

"I would never do (a commercial) with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect but because we don't agree with them. Ours is a classic family where the woman plays a fundamental role," he said.

Barilla also said he was unconcerned with whether gay consumers would stop buying pasta from the privately held company that is the world's biggest pasta maker.   Continued...

 
Packs of Barilla pasta are seen in the kitchen of a restaurant in Rome September 27, 2013. REUTERS/Tony Gentile