Thank you again to fierce LGBT ally and my friend, Jennifer Carey for inspiring me to write this article. I must confess, I don’t particularly enjoy writing the Bigot of the Week articles, for they sit heavy on my heart. Sadly, I feel I must write them to expose where and when people are being oppressed. This week, Guido Barilla, the CEO of Barilla pasta engaged in oppressing the LGBT community.
In an interview Barilla did explaining why he would never use gay people in his commercials, Barilla said:
I would never do a commercial with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect but because we don’t agree with them. Ours is a classic family where the woman plays a fundamental role…if the gays do not agree, they can always eat pasta from another manufacturer.
Wow! Where does one start to unpack this? Shall we start with the definition of a family? Clearly, Barilla is getting his definition from Dan Quayle from 1992. Barillia’s comments are full of misogyny, hypocrisy, homophobia, classism, and just plain old ignorance. For those who are under the assumption that the LGBT community is now safe and can rest easy, please know these comments from people in power are so hurtful and harmful to all of us — all members of the human family. Barilla and other homophobes send the message that human beings can easily be discarded if they do not fit into the boxes prescribed by the dominant culture — a white, male, heterosexual, Christian paradigm.
Sadly, McDonald’s is implicated in this homophobic attack. My hope is that McDonald’s will discontinue its partnership with Barilla pasta. I also hope that the LGBT community and all of our allies will stand in solidarity and boycott Barilla pasta. When did hate become a family value?
Another call to action: If you already have Barilla products in your home, you can either return them to your grocer and explain why you are returning the product, or donate it to your local food bank.