Dan T. Cathy, the founder and President of Chik-Fil-A, caused a groundswell of backlash and boycotts when he told a religious publication that he and the company supported “the biblical family unit” and also tweeted his reaction to the Supreme Court ruling invalidating the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. There were boycotts and demonstrations protesting the position, and eventually the company has decided to keep their focus on chicken and not politics.
Guido Barilla, the chairman of the Barilla group, could have taken a lesson from Dan Cathy’s struggles. In an interview on Italian radio, translated by the Huffington Post, he announced that his company would never feature gay families in advertisements.
“We have a slightly different culture,” he said. “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.” He also said he supported gay marriage, but he didn’t “agree” with gay adoption.
Activists are now demanding a boycott of Barilla pasta products, something that Barilla saw coming. He said that those who disagree with him will most likely “eat another brand of pasta.” His comments were not vitriolic and he has since made statements in which he’s apologized and said that he respects all people. Still, for some activists, this is not nearly enough and want to see Barilla out-of-business.