LOS ANGELES — Gay rights advocates, pasta enthusiasts, and fans of schadenfreude the world over have begun to count down the seconds until Barilla Pasta CEO Guido Barilla apologizes for saying that he would never market his product to a gay community and anyone who does not like it can go buy someone else’s pasta.
The comments came in an interview on Italian radio after Barilla was asked if he would use a gay family in one of his commercials. “I would never do (a commercial) with a homosexual family,” Barilla responded, “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.” Casinos and bookmakers around the globe immediately began taking bets on how long it would take the CEO to recant his remarks in the face of the coming boycott.
“Corporate CEOs taking an anti-LGBT stance and then back-tracking in the face of public pressure is nothing new,” said renowned LGBT advocate George Takei. “Target backed down pretty quickly after they donated to an anti-gay candidate. And who can forget Carnival apologizing in under 24 hours for not allowing people to cross-dress on a drag-themed cruise. Right now, they are the Usian Bolt of corporate groveling.”
“Here’s hoping for a new world’s record,” added Takei. “Oh myyy.”
Not everyone is laying money on an apology, however. “He has already said he has no objections to gay marriage,” said GLAAD spokeswoman Lydia Kenner. “So it’s not like he is really pushing the envelope into full throated bigot-land. Not to mention, he’s in Italy. Look how long they put up with that pig Berlusconi.”
“I’ve got six large on Barilla not recanting at all,” Kenner admitted. “My bookie Frank is paying out eight-to-one.”
Meanwhile, New World Pasta – owner of Ronzoni, Barilla’s chief competitor, is fast at work on a new line of Pride Pasta – penne in the colors of the Gay Pride flag. CEO Bastiaan de Zeeuw reportedly said a prayer of thanks to Saint Profitus, the patron saint of unforced competitor error and increased market share.
So far, the only support Barilla has received has been from Chik-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, who said he stands by Barilla’s comments and is interested in a brand partnership. “We think Barilla was just expressing what every decent American, Italian, and Italian-American thinks about this issue,” Cathy said. “And we think his Vodka Sauce will pair very nicely with our Nuggets Tray.”