Guido Barilla, who controls the fourth-generation Barilla Group family business with his two brothers, sparked outrage among activists, consumers and some politicians when he said he would not consider using a gay family to advertise Barilla pasta. “For us the concept of the sacred family remains one of the basic values of the company,” he told Italian radio on Wednesday evening. “I would not do it but not out of a lack of respect for homosexuals who have the right to do what they want without bothering others … [but] I don’t see things like they do and I think the family that we speak to is a classic family.” Asked what effect he thought his attitude would have on gay consumers of pasta, Barilla said: “Well, if they like our pasta and our message they will eat it; if they don’t like it and they don’t like what we say they will … eat another.”
A lot of my friends on Facebook are accusing Barilla of being, in fact, fascist, reactionary, and culturally regressive. I personally cannot stand this totalitarian moralism of the left-wing. I was talking about it with Mindo some months ago. Whatever. There are very few things I support by heart: among these there are pluralism and freedom of speech. If Guido Barilla has an opinion, I might not like it, but I will surely respect it. Many of my left wing friends don’t, and that really makes me upset.