The chairman of the Barilla Group, under fire for saying his business ads would never feature gay couples, issued first an apology, then another apology, and now says he will meet with leading same-sex groups to gain some sensitivity and awareness of the issues they confront.
Guido Barilla, head of the worldwide pasta company, came under fire last week for saying on Italian radio that he would never have gay couples in his corporate commercials because he prefers “traditional” families. The company then quickly apologized — but it wasn’t good enough, CNN reported.
Barilla executives then posted a video of him giving an in-depth apology in English on the company Facebook page.
“Through my entire life I have always respected every person I’ve met, including gays and their families, without any distinctions,” he said in the video. “I’ve never discriminated against anyone.”
He also said he’s been “depressed and saddened” by the reaction he’s received over his comments. And, he added, he “has much to learn” about the changing dynamics of family and will meet with various gay groups to learn about their issues, CNN reported.
His second apology comes as social media continues to highlight outrage from the gay rights community.
For instance, one commenter vowed to never buy from the company again, posting: “I’m straight, Christian and will never buy your products again. I dropped my Barilla products at the food bank today.”
And another wrote: “You have deeply offended our family, Thank you for exposing your bigotry. We will never purchase Barilla products again.”
Not all the comments were negative, however. Numerous posters said the company should stand its ground and refuse to apologize, CNN reported.