There can't just be food, there must be controversy. On September 26, ABC News reported that gay rights advocates are boycotting Barilla brand pasta products. The Barilla boycott came about after company president, Guido Barilla, told an Italian radio station that the company would never use homosexuals in their advertising campaigns.
Barilla went on to say that his company embraces the "traditional family" and would continue to use that image when advertising their products. Then he went on to say that gay people could refrain from eating Barilla pasta if they did not like their stance. For the record, gay marriage is not legal in Italy.
Gay rights advocates fired back, beginning the Barilla boycott and taking it to social media with great speed. Very quickly, the hashtag #boycottbarilla caught on and many homosexuals and gay rights advocates are taking a stand.
Upon seeing the social media outrage, Guido Barilla then issued a new statement in an attempt to backtrack on his prior comments. In an issued statement he said, "With reference to remarks made yesterday to an Italian radio program, I apologize if my words have generated controversy or misunderstanding, or if they hurt someone's sensitivity. In the interview I simply wished to underline the central role the woman plays within the family." Guido Barilla then invited everyone to enjoy his pasta and hoped they would forget about his anti-gay comments the day before.
It's a shame that companies did not learn from the Chik-Fil-A debacle and keep their political leanings to themselves. Isolating an entire group of people is never good for business. Comments such as those made by Guido Barilla, which sparked the Barilla boycott, will only hurt sales and not help it in the age of social media. It is never a smart move for any company to tell it's consumers that if they don't like it, eat another brand. In this case, that is what many are choosing to do.