10,000 signatures reached
Barilla: Your gay customers and employees deserve equality and respect
To: Barilla Group
The remarks of your chairman show a clear hostility toward the gay community. Your gay customers and employees deserve equality and respect. Publicly disavow the comments, and declare your company's commitment to equality and respect for all people, including gays and lesbians. This includes full benefits for same-sex couples, training for sensitivity to these issues, and policies that hold employees accountable if they show hostile and discriminatory attitudes toward gays and lesbians in the workplace.
Why is this important?
On Wednesday, Guido Barilla, chairman of the Barilla Group, said on a radio program that he “would not do a commercial with a homosexual family” and that if gay customers don't like it, they can "eat another brand of pasta."
Barilla's offensive statements raise important questions about whether the Barilla Group treats its gay customers and employees with fairness.
After Barilla's comments provoked international outrage and threats of a boycott from members of Italy's parliament, he gave a "so-called" apology that failed to address concerns about how he believes gay employees should be treated and continued to reflect his homophobia and sexism, saying:
"Regarding my comments at the radio program La Zanzara, I [apologize] if my words generated misunderstandings or controversy or if they hurt some people's feelings. In the interview I just wanted to underline the centrality of the woman's role in the family. To be clear, I just want to specify that I do have great respect of every person, without any kind of distinction. I do respect gay people and everybody's freedom of expression. I also said I do respect gay marriage. Barilla in its advertising has always chosen to represent the family because this is the symbol of hospitality and affection for everyone."
Since Barilla took leadership of his family's company, corporations have made great strides in recognizing and celebrating diversity, with over 88% of the Fortune 500 prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The regressive view that women should be homemakers and that gay families somehow fail to exemplify hospitality and affection have no place in the 21st century. As a gay man, I'm furious that Barilla would try to make these claims that are both sexist and homophobic about the families of his employees and customers, or the family I one day plan to have.
Barilla claims to respect gay marriage. However, he has also stated, "I absolutely don’t respect adoptions in gay families," suggesting that he wants to define what rights his gay employees and customers should have. Barilla should clarify whether his company will treat all gay employees and customers with the same dignity and respect he would give to any other family.
The threats of a boycott of the Barilla Group's products have already forced Barilla to back away from his remarks publicly. With an international spotlight on Barilla, now is the time to demand that the Barilla Group clarify what that "respect" really means. If enough people like you sign my petition, we can keep the pressure on and ensure that the company treats all its employees and customers with respect.
Join me and add your name to my petition to the Barilla Group to demand it ensures respect and equality for your gay customers and employees.
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