Postcard from... Milan
Gay-rights groups are calling for a boycott of the world’s biggest pasta maker Barilla after the company’s chairman said he would never use homosexual couples in his advertisements.
Guido Barilla, whose firm has almost half the Italian pasta market, told Italy’s La Zanzara radio show: “I would never do an advert with a homosexual family… if the gays don’t like it they can go an eat another brand.
“For us the concept of the sacred family remains one of the fundamental values of the company.”
He added: “Everyone has the right to do what they want without disturbing those around them.” But then the pasta magnate upped the ante by attacking gay adoption. “I have no respect for adoption by gay families because this concerns a person who is not able to choose.”
Alessandro Zan, a gay rights campaigner and an MP in the left-wing Sel (Sinistra Ecologia Libertà) party, said: “This is another example of Italian homophobia. I’m joining the boycott of Barilla and I hope other parliamentarians do the same.”
Campaigners have urged a boycott of all 20 brands owned by the Parma-based company, which include Voiello pasta and Filiz and Misko products.
By Thursday lunchtime, Mr Barilla had issued another statement. “I’m sorry if my comments on La Zanzara have created misunderstanding or polemic, or if I’ve offended anyone. In the interview I only wanted to underline the central role of the woman in the family.”
But Ivan Scalfarotto, an MP in the centre-left Democratic Party, wasn’t convinced. “I certainly won’t be buying his products any more.”
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