We Are All One
On September 28th, 2013 I wrote a blog entitled, ‘Barilla Out/Bertolli in. It was in reference to a statement from the CEO of the Barilla company saying basically that he did not support gay rights and, in fact, as far as he was concerned they (gays) could buy another brand of pasta if they didn’t like his comment. (You can read the entire blog by going to the archive section of my web site)
Then the power of social media kicked in and with it the possible negative financial effect to his company was realized and within two days his public relations team – wait for it – had him apologize for his comment which even included a weak invitation to gays to come on board and enjoy their pasta. Tongue in cheek, I thought to myself, “What an amazing change of heart and so quickly! I’m not buying it.” I need to see more than a mere 2 sentence apology to believe a deeper understanding of human rights happened. Consequently, I’m still buying only Bertolli pasta.
On the other hand there is a change worth supporting! Today an article was published regarding the Chick-fil-A company and its about turn on the same topic. About two years ago another CEO, Dan Cathy, came out in support of the “traditional family” and condemning gay marriage by saying when questioned by a reporter about his position on the topic, “guilty as charged”. Someone(s) in the company also realized the long term damage that could result from his comment especially in the future when the company plans to expand well beyond its Southern strong hold. So today we read that when Dan Cathy was again interviewed about gay marriage he said, “All of us become wise as time goes by …we sincerely care about all people.”
The company has done its research on the Millennial generation who want local sourcing, product quality (getting rid of those antibiotic filled chickens) and worker rights which include a higher sense of social consciousness (we are all made from the light of the Universal Energy).
The company with its 1800 stores plans to add 180 more restaurants this year creating an ever expanding footprint in the fast food market. When I read that Shane Windmeyer, Executive Director of the gay rights advocacy group, Campus Pride, once a critic and now a fan of the company said, “Dan (Cathy) and I have an ongoing friendship…I am appreciative for the common ground we have established in treating all people with dignity and respect.” I decided I’m in! Although I have never tried their food due to their previously limited social consciousness it seems the time has come. It may be the result of the the public relations advice, the financial bottom line but maybe …just maybe…the real change happened due to the friendship that developed between these two men. When we get to know others who may have a slightly different life perspective than our own, understanding and truth develops and we look past any differences and into their hearts.
Congratulations to Dan Cathy, Shane Windmeyer and everyone at Chick-fil-A. You are doing the right thing!
Please send this blog on to anyone who cares about human rights. One person at a time we can make a difference!
Have a great few days!
Barilla Out/Bertolli In
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!