This website is about deepening our understanding about human emotions especially dealing with grief and loss. The topic of loss comes in many forms. An important one is the loss people experience from a lack of respect from others due to their lifestyle. We are, after all, created by the same Universal Energy of pure love. This site is about trying to make the world a better place one person, one blog, at a time. Rarely do I enter into current events unless my heart moves me to do so- and it did today.
Guido Barilla, chairman of the world’s leading pasta manufacture on Wednesday stated, “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.” Why am I having a hard time accepting his explanation? The latest add for his company features Antonio Banderas baking biscuits (it seems there are 15 different brands and products made by the Barilla company) and talking to children about a chicken called Rosita. It was MR. Banderas who was featured in the add – but didn’t Barilla argue his point by saying ‘women play a fundamental role? Mr. Barilla also said he opposes adoption by gay parents. Ah…the real issue surfaces. No question where he stands on the topic of respect and equal rights. After a firestorm on social media sites, Barilla responded, “I apologize if my words have generated controversy or misunderstanding…” His words ring both hollow and insincere. Notice he didn’t apologize for being discriminatory but simply of “generating controversy” sounds like he is worried about the bottom line – money – and his PR folks were probably pleading with him, on bended knee, to recant his words. Mr. Barilla I think, ‘ thou protests too much!’ One just has to wonder why.
Misunderstanding really? Mr Barilla there is no ‘misunderstanding.’ Your comments were judgmental, offensive and lacked the integrity needed for a leader of a major company. You have a right to your own extremely limited perception but NOT as a CEO of a major company you inherited from your father which employs over 13,000 people. I wonder how some of your employees who are, no doubt gay, feel working for a company that promotes such discrimination. Do they have to hide in the shadow hoping not to be discovered and fired due to your stance? You made yourself both sadly and perfectly clear. Your comments were not a simple misunderstanding but a hateful and judgmental attack. You might want to contemplate on the statement, ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged.’
Now it is up to us, as consumers, to stand up and be counted. There is no place in my world that can accept a company that promotes discrimination, that includes Chic-fil-A and any other company that promotes division and discrimination among people. I accept the suggestion from Mr. Barilla that if his words upset me, simply do not eat his pasta – actually I could no longer stomach it. With each bite his comments would ring in my ear. Now let’s see if his 5.4 billion in net sales with be likewise effected. It’s up to us to decide.
It is good to know that alternatives exist. For instance, Bertolli, another Italian pasta maker company is NOT discriminatory and chose to feature a commercial highlighting a gay couple back in 2008! Imagine that! The character of this CEO and his company speaks volumes. They now have me as a permanent customer. I’m putting the intention out there that over the next year or so Bertolli will increase their sales by 40% because of both the integrity of their company and the quality of their product.
There is no room for discrimination, judgment or hateful comments in my world. Not now – not ever. Mr. Barilla will reap what he sows. That’s just how the Universe works.
Please forward this blog on to your friends and family. Information is a powerful thing. Let’s give others the chance to make a difference – an informed choice – so everyone can be accepted and treated with respect.
Have a great few days!