Barilla Chairman's Apology Manages to Insult Gay Families

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Barilla pasta has been working overtime to figure out how to apologize for the company's chairman, Guido Barilla, saying that gay people "can always go eat someone else’s pasta" if people don't like the fact that the company will never feature a gay person in their ads. And the company has more work to do: in Mr. Barilla's formal apology, he insinuates that gay families aren't real families.

Here's Guido Barilla's apology on Facebook, translated by America Blog's John Aravosis. Think of it as a template for how to apologize for one blunder and create another:

With reference to my statement ​​yesterday, I apologize if my words have generated controversy or misunderstanding, and if they have offended the sensibilities of some people.

For clarity, I wish to point out that I have the deepest respect for all persons, without distinction of any kind.

I have the utmost respect for homosexuals and for the freedom of expression of everyone.

I also said and I repeat that I respect marriages between people of the same sex.

Barilla in its advertising has always chosen to represent the family because this is the symbol of hospitality and affection for everyone.

When you're apologizing, as Barilla is doing, for saying that you are not using gay people in your ads because you're choosing to depict a "traditional family" (even though in America, Barilla's ads usually involve some kind of pasta seduction narrative), it's a bad idea to reiterate/defend that idea — that gay families are somehow different — in the last line of your apology.

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These bad apologies are sort of Barilla's style. On Thursday, Barilla said he didn't want to put gay people in his ads because he wanted to stress the importance of women. "In the interview I simply wanted to highlight the central role of the woman in the family," he said, all but ignoring the fact that lesbian couples involve two women.

Barilla's U.S. branch is doing a slightly better job than Mr. Barilla; the two don't seem to be on the same page. The U.S. division said in a statement Thursday night: 

At Barilla, we consider it our mission to treat our consumers and partners as our neighbors – with love and respect – and to deliver the very best products possible. We take this responsibility seriously and consider it a core part of who we are as a family-owned company. While we can’t undo recent remarks, we can apologize. To all of our friends, family, employees, and partners that we have hurt or offended, we are deeply sorry.

The company still hasn't said if it's going to reverse its policy and depict gay people in the future. 

Photo of "Bigotoni" via Facebook/Twitter.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.